Why Are My Teeth Crooked?

As you think about starting orthodontic treatment to straighten your smile and improve your oral health, you might find yourself wondering, “Why are my teeth crooked in the first place?” The answer is different for everyone, which is part of the reason why everyone gets a personalized treatment plan to help with their specific issues. Still, there are some common reasons people’s teeth end up crooked.


Just like nobody has perfectly clear skin or a totally symmetrical face, nobody has perfect teeth. Some people have pretty straight teeth naturally, but even they may have underlying issues orthodontic treatment can fix. Some people inherit genes that cause their teeth to grow in crooked. The actual ways genetics affect each person’s teeth varies. Some people have jaws that are too small for their teeth, resulting in crowding, or impacted teeth in severe cases. Other issues with the jaw can cause the person’s bite to be off, causing an overbite, crossbite, or underbite. Permanent teeth may simply grow in at awkward angles due to genetic hardwiring as well.

Bad Timing of Baby Teeth Loss

Many people don’t realize their baby teeth actually play a huge role in how the permanent teeth come in. Baby teeth guide the path of eruption, and if they fall out early or late, it can cause the permanent teeth to come in crooked. For example, if baby teeth don’t fall out when they are supposed to, the permanent teeth may erupt in front of or behind the baby teeth instead of in their proper positions.

Losing baby teeth too early can also affect where the permanent teeth come in. If your child sucks their thumb past toddlerhood, they may loosen the baby teeth early. This habit, along with extended pacifier use, also alters the shape of the jaw as the child is still growing and developing, which can lead to crooked teeth.

Other Bad Habits

Beyond thumb-sucking as a toddler, older children and even adults, can engage in bad habits that cause problems for their teeth grow. For instance, anxious habits like tongue-thrusting or teeth-grinding can alter the orientation of your teeth, causing crookedness and other oral health problems.


Another potential source of crooked teeth is getting an injury. For one, getting a facial injury as a child can knock out a baby tooth early, which can lead to permanent teeth coming in improperly. If a permanent tooth is knocked out, it’s important to get a replacement tooth put in as soon as possible since the surrounding teeth will begin to move to fill in the gap.

To straighten crooked teeth, most people undergo orthodontic treatment with either braces or the Invisalign, which both help move the teeth and jaws to an ideal position. Early orthodontics starting at age seven can also help correct the issues that cause crooked teeth before the permanent teeth erupt.

Contact Austin Orthodontics and schedule a free consultation to see which treatment option could be right for you!