Everything You Need to Know About Crooked Baby Teeth
As a parent, you’re naturally attuned to every development and milestone that your child reaches. You closely monitor when they roll over, the moment they start to walk, and the day they say their first words. You also notice when your baby’s teeth start to come in! This is a fun and exciting stage, full of firsts. However, you might be a little concerned to see that baby’s teeth are looking more crooked than you’d imagined.
Don’t stress! Our pediatric dentists are here to answer your questions and put your mind at ease. Today, we’re explaining why this happens and how we can help.
What Causes Baby’s Teeth To Be Crooked?
First, let’s explain one reassuring truth. It’s not uncommon for a baby’s first teeth to be a little crooked or slanted at first. You may even notice that their lower front teeth are forming a “V” shape.
These issues may become obvious as they develop their first teeth, which usually happens around the six-month mark. Before you begin to worry, let’s explain a few of the most common reasons why this might happen.
Genetic factors are a leading cause of crooked teeth in babies.
For instance, one parent might have large teeth, while the other has a small jaw. When this happens, it can cause your baby’s teeth to be overcrowded in their mouth and become crooked.
Most of the time, this issue resolves itself over time. Your pediatric dentist is trained to notice and evaluate these types of concerns and can direct you on whether or not treatment may be necessary down the road.
Put simply, myofunctional habits are any type of repetitive behaviors that affect the muscular functions of your mouth or face. For children, these habits usually include:
- Thumb or finger sucking
- Tongue thrusting
- Pacifier or bottle use
Any of these habits can lead to tooth spacing issues. For example, thumb sucking puts excess pressure on your child’s upper and lower teeth. This can cause overcrowding as baby teeth develop resulting in them becoming crooked.
Likewise, sustained pacifier use over a long period of time could also contribute to a misaligned bite. The most common forms of malocclusions include a crossbite or open bite.
Why does this happen?
Over time, prolonged pacifier use could force your child’s teeth to shift. It could even cause the roof of their mouth to change shape in response to the constant pressure and presence of the foreign object. This condition is loosely known as “pacifier teeth.” In some cases, it can be corrected if the pacifier is weaned at an appropriate age.
When Should I Be Concerned?
It’s natural to feel concerned as soon as you notice your child’s teeth are misaligned. However, remember that for the most part, this occurrence is common.
This is especially the case with that “V” formation you notice in their bottom teeth. This alone isn’t cause for concern, nor should you fret if your baby’s top teeth appear larger than their bottom teeth.
By the time they turn two and a half, your child should have around 20 primary teeth. Even then, don’t expect a straight, picture-perfect smile. Their mouth is still growing and developing and like them, it will go through a few different stages until it’s fully grown!
The key to staying on top of this growth? Visiting your pediatric dentist regularly. The American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) both suggest that you visit a kids’ dentist as soon as your child’s first tooth emerges or by their first birthday (whichever comes first). By staying on top of your child’s dental visits, you can make sure that their dentist is closely monitoring their teeth from the moment they come in.
If they notice that their teeth are a little crooked, they’ll keep a close eye on them and help you understand any contributing factors. They can also recommend treatments if necessary.
What Can Be Done When Baby’s Teeth Are Crooked?
At Must Love Kids Pediatric Dentistry, our dentists will closely monitor the health of your child’s mouth from their very first visit. This includes performing a pediatric orthodontic evaluation by the time they turn seven.
At this age, their first molars will begin to develop, which helps establish their back bite. If their crooked teeth from childhood have not corrected themselves, then your dentist may recommend treatment to address any crowding or spacing issues. They can also suggest the most viable time to begin this treatment to set the stage for a lifetime of healthy, happy smiles for your little one!
While our office specializes in braces for kids and teens, keep in mind that pediatric orthodontics aren’t always necessary. Dr. Mo and Dr. G will evaluate and monitor your child’s front-to-back, side-to-side, and vertical tooth relationships over time, helping to guide their growth and development. This early evaluation can help:
- Guide their adult teeth
- Create room for crowded teeth
- Safeguard protruding front teeth from trauma
- Influence jaw growth to create facial symmetry
- Reduce the likelihood of tooth removal
- Reduce orthopedic treatment time
While your dentist can provide professional orthodontic support, there are steps you can take at home to help your child’s teeth grow and develop properly. These include:
- Brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush as soon as their first tooth emerges
- Displaying a strong oral hygiene routine
- Limiting the amount of sugar they consume (especially sticky candies and sweet drinks)
These habits can help develop a solid foundation for your child’s lifelong dental care regimen. However, it’s still important to bring them in for their routine visits to a pediatric dentist’s office!
Caring For Your Baby’s Teeth
As soon as your baby’s teeth start to develop, it’s time to find a pediatric dental home. Early evaluations can help spot and treat any issues that may emerge, such as an overcrowded or misaligned bite.
With good habits, these concerns will usually correct themselves as adult teeth replace your child’s primary teeth. However, there are some instances where professional intervention is necessary. In this case, orthodontic services can correct minor problems before they turn into bigger ones.
If you’re looking for a Vancouver pediatric dentistry home, we’d love to connect. Feel free to contact us today to schedule an appointment!