What causes crooked teeth and misaligned bites?

Miriam T. Furlong
Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics
You can inherit traits like a small jaw, big teeth, or missing teeth from your parents that can lead to bad alignment of the teeth or bite.

You can also have things occur like tooth decay or baby teeth that are knocked out early that can cause your teeth or bite to be crooked. Certain habits like thumb sucking and an abnormal tongue posture can also affect the teeth and bite.

Patients often have a combination of different factors that cause their orthodontic problems.

Crooked teeth and misaligned bites are conditions that can be inherited from your parents. Other possible causes include:

  • certain habits as a young child, including pacifier use past age 3, thumb sucking, and using a bottle for too many years
  • tumors in your mouth or within your jaw
  • losing either your baby teeth or permanent teeth too early in life
  • gum disease
  • facial injury that causes your jaw to become misaligned

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.