It's National Children's Dental Health Month, which means we'll be giving you helpful tips on dental care for baby and answering all those questions you have about those adorable baby teeth. Here, Chris Kammer, DDS, Lifetime Family Dentistry and president of The American Academy for Oral Systemic Health, explains why some babies' teeth grow in crooked.
Crooked teeth are usually genetic, but not in the way you might think. Sometimes, a child inherits her father’s larger teeth and her mother’s smaller jaw — which may cause some trouble. If that’s the case, when the teeth begin to grow in, they start fighting for position because there isn’t enough space for them in the arch of the mouth. That can lead to crowding.
Another reason for crooked teeth might be baby’s habit of sticking her fingers in her mouth. If baby’s a thumb-sucker, she’ll put her thumb tightly between the upper and lower teeth when her mouth is closed. That places pressure on the upper front teeth and pushes them out. At the same time, the lower teeth are pushed back into the mouth, which can cause crowding. In some other cases, extra teeth develop, and crowding occurs because there isn’t enough room.
If you’re seeing spaces between baby’s teeth, know that that’s a good thing. If the teeth are all crowded, then it’s very likely that when baby gets permanent teeth, they’ll be crowded too, and she’ll benefit from getting braces. The good news: You don’t have to wait for the adult teeth to come in to do something about crowding.
Even at a young age, your baby’s teeth can be analyzed for deficiencies in arch length so treatment can be started. Children as young as four years old could get a removable retainer-like appliance that helps guide the growth of the arches in the mouth so that they can better accommodate the teeth size. Early arch expansion can make orthodontic treatment of the permanent teeth easier and more stable, if it’s even needed at all.
Want to know the best way to care for baby's teeth and help prep her for dental treatment? Read the rest here.