Your baby’s or child’s teeth are essential to their overall health and development. The shape and structure of those first teeth will determine how comfortable your child will be able to eat, speak and smile. Baby teeth grow in and act as placeholders for your child’s permanent teeth. If a child’s baby teeth come in crooked, it is not necessarily a sign that their permanent teeth will too. Crooked baby teeth are common and are not always a cause for concern.
Here’s what to look for when your baby’s teeth first start to come in.
Why Baby Teeth Grow In Crooked
Oral Habits. One of the main reasons for crooked teeth may be baby’s oral habits. If finger or thumb sucking becomes an issue, this habit puts pressure on the upper front teeth and pushes them out. At the same time, the lower teeth are pushed back into the mouth, causing a misalignment.
Genetics. Crooked teeth are also typically genetic, but not in the way that you might think. Often, a child inherits genetic characteristics from each parent, meaning a child can inherit his mother’s larger teeth and his father’s smaller jaw, which can lead to an overcrowded grin. In this situation, when teeth begin to come in, they are left to fight for space because there isn’t enough room for them in the arch of the mouth.
Spaces or Gaps. If you’re seeing spaces between your baby’s teeth as they come in, it is considered a good thing. Spaces between baby teeth leave more room for larger, permanent teeth to come in straight and fill in those gaps.
What To Look For
If your baby’s teeth are growing in crowded, it is possible that this is a sign that their permanent teeth will have crowding issues as well. Crowding often means that your baby’s jaw is not big enough to accommodate the size of their teeth. Of course, you will not know for sure if your child will have crowding issues until permanent teeth begin to fill in, but the things to watch for and be aware of when your baby’s teeth start growing in are:
- Crowded or crooked teeth – Cavities are more prone to occur in crowded or overlapping teeth. If you notice that baby teeth are overcrowded, maintain a healthy oral hygiene routine and clean your baby’s teeth regularly.
- Missing or too many teeth – If you notice that your toddler does not have a full set of 20 baby teeth after their third birthday, you may want to have an x-ray performed by a dental professional. Your dentist will be able to detect any missing teeth under the gums or if any teeth are coming in incorrectly
- Discolored teeth- Maintaining a good oral hygiene schedule for your baby is the best defense against discoloration. Tooth enamel on baby teeth is much thinner than on adult teeth, which makes it much easier for plaque to build-up on baby teeth. Brushing your baby’s teeth twice a day and minimizing the amount of sugar they consume will help decrease the risk of cavities and tooth decay from developing.
Correct Any Behavioral Problems
Monitoring your child’s behavior by correcting any habits or problems can help to reduce any potential issues in the future. Thumb and finger sucking or tongue thrusting can cause an overbite or an underbite and other jaw issues for your child.
If your baby’s teeth start growing in crooked, don’t panic quite yet. A baby’s jaw changes excessively in the early years of life, and permanent teeth tend to grow in differently than baby teeth do. Consult with your child’s dentist who can give you options and advice to help your baby’s teeth stay healthy. If your child’s dentist does recommend preventative treatment, it’s wise to consider it as treating overcrowded teeth early on is often much more comfortable and more cost effective in the long run.
If you’re worried about your child’s overcrowded smile, schedule a consultation with Premier Dental Center today.