- Posted by Dr Alex Loh
- On March 5, 2018
Many people think that crowded or crooked teeth is a genetic trait, believing that if mum or dad has crowded teeth, the child will also have crowded teeth. This is not necessarily true!
Did you know that teeth are not stuck to the bone, but instead are able to move when constant pressure is applied to them? This is the reason why braces are able to move teeth, and make them straight.
The lips, cheeks and tongue are very strong muscles that are always putting constant pressure on teeth. Because of this, the actions of the lip, cheeks and tongue have an enormous influence on where teeth end up being positioned. Let’s have a look at two “habits” where this can create problems:
Habit 1 – Some children have a “tongue thrust” when they swallow, which is when the tongue pushes forward against the inner surface of the front teeth. The average child swallows about 600 times a day. Imagine the amount of force the tongue is having on the front teeth every time the child swallows. This will end up causing the front teeth to tip forward and even create a space between them!
Habit 2 – Some children aren’t able to breathe through their nose. In normal circumstances, breathing through the nose requires the mouth to be closed, and the tongue up against the roof of the mouth. This resting tongue position puts a constant force outwards against the upper teeth, helping the upper jaw to grow properly. Children who are unable to breathe through the nose will have to open their mouth, and the tongue is forced to drop down. This ends up not putting pressure on the upper jaw, and not letting it grow properly. When a jaw is too small, the child isn’t able to bite down together properly and there is not enough room to let the teeth fit in, resulting in severe crowding of teeth!
Parents often see this huge space between front teeth or large amounts of crowding, and often ask “Will my child need braces?” If the problem is left long enough, the answer is a very clear “YES”. Additionally, even after braces have straightened the teeth and seemingly corrected the problem, the “habits” will still remain, and cause a strong tendency for the teeth to move back to where they were before the braces were put on!
If the dentist is able to identify the cause of the problem from the lips, cheeks and tongue as discussed above, often it is possible to correct these “habits” early enough, and can potentially mean not needing braces in the future.
If you are interested in knowing more about your child’s possible “habits” or treatment with braces, feel free to call eDentistry Wantirna on (03) 9800 1184 or send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and have a chat with us.