What Causes Crooked Teeth?

Not everybody is born with perfectly straight teeth. In fact, experts estimate that up to 9 in 10 people have at least slightly misaligned or maloccluded teeth. While crooked teeth may not seem like a major health concern, they actually raise your risk of potentially serious dental problems, such as:

  • Tooth decay (cavities)
  • Malocclusion (bad bite)
  • Worn teeth
  • Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)
  • Chronic headaches
  • Jaw pain
  • Cracked teeth
  • Chipped teeth
  • Speech problems
  • Yellow teeth

Straight teeth protect against cavities because they’re simply easier to clean. They also help align your bite properly, so there isn’t added stress on your teeth or jaw.

So, what causes crooked teeth? And how can you fix them?

Dr. Chad Carver at Stellar Family Orthodontics has the answers for you and your family:

Tooth decay (cavities)

Poor oral health during childhood is one of the leading causes of crooked teeth in adults. Baby teeth act as space maintainers for your permanent teeth.

If they fall out early, due to cavities and tooth decay, your remaining teeth will shift toward the empty space. This leaves very little room for your adult teeth to grow in comfortably. Without enough space, your teeth may grow in crooked.


The way your teeth fit together is a hereditary trait. Genetics help determine the size of your mouth, the size of your teeth, and how they all fit together. If you’re born with a naturally small mouth, you may not have enough room for a full set of teeth. This pushes your teeth together, leading to overcrowding. With a crowded mouth, you can develop crooked teeth.

Bad habits

No matter your age, bad habits can significantly impact the way your teeth emerge and grow. Mouth breathing, thumb sucking, and prolonged pacifier use can all cause shifting teeth in children.

But being an adult doesn’t necessarily mean your teeth will stay straight. Certain habits, such as poor oral hygiene, smoking, and an unhealthy diet, can cause tooth decay. Without treatment, decayed teeth are vulnerable to damage and tooth loss. If you have missing teeth, your remaining teeth may shift into the open space.

Poor retainer use

Think you can’t have crooked teeth after braces? Think again! There’s a reason orthodontists fit you for a retainer after removing your braces. Retainers help keep your teeth in the correct position. Without them, your teeth can shift back into place and become crooked.

How to fix crooked teeth

The first step if you want to treat crooked teeth is visiting the experienced orthodontist at Stellar Family Orthodontics. With a state-of-the-art office equipped with the latest dental technology, the team can map out the best treatment plan for you.

Whether you have crooked front teeth, overly crowded teeth, or uneven teeth, Stellar Family Orthodontics has an array of orthodontic treatments at their office.

Conventional braces, with wires are metal brackets, are extremely effective for straightening teeth in patients of all ages. But they aren’t your only option. Invisalign® clear aligners, fixed retainers, removable retainers, or oral surgery may also be part of your treatment plan.

To get a free consultation for your personalized crooked teeth treatment plan, call Stellar Family Orthodontics in Mukilteo and Mill Creek, Washington, or schedule an appointment online today!