Why do some people have crooked teeth and misaligned bites?

Bad bite, or malocclusion, is when teeth that are crowded or crooked. In some cases your teeth may be straight, but your upper and lower jaws may not meet properly. These jaw or tooth alignment problems may be inherited or could result from injury, early or late tooth loss, or thumb sucking.

Not all of us are born with beautiful smiles, but with a good oral hygiene routine, and a little help from orthodontics, you can have a beautiful and healthy smile.
Dante A. Gonzales, DMD
Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics

Many people inherit the way their teeth look from their parents, or grandparents, but there can be other factors that affect the way teeth line up:

  • the size of the jaw versus the size of the teeth
  • whether or not there are missing teeth, or extra teeth
  • if baby teeth are lost prematurely, or retained too long
  • if a patient only breathes through their mouth
  • are the tongue, lips or cheeks placing abnormal forces on the teeth

There are many factors at play in how teeth erupt into the mouth. Some people are very fortunate and their teeth and bite develop ideally. Others are not so fortunate and need the help of an orthodontist.

Crooked teeth and misaligned bites are often caused by heredity factors. Your teeth may be crowded, crooked, spaced unevenly or missing because you have inherited the condition from your parents. Other possible causes of crooked teeth and misaligned bites include:
  • broken, knocked-out, or damaged teeth
  • too much thumb-sucking or pacifier use when you were a baby
  • losing one or more baby teeth too soon, before the adult tooth underneath was ready to come in

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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.