Are crooked teeth hereditary?

An exploration of the causes of malpositioned teeth in children with Dr. Erin Johnson

The short answer is yes they can be, but that is not the whole story. We often tell parents that if one or both parents needed orthodontic treatment, it is a safe assumption that their child will need orthodontic treatment as well. But other factors can also play a role in the position of teeth. Congenital birth defects involving the jaws, certain medical conditions, thumb sucking, prolonged pacifier use, tongue ties, and early loss of a baby tooth can also result in crowding of teeth. Even simple mouth breathing rather than nasal breathing can result in tooth crowding in some children.

Some crowding is caused by changes in the way the bones of the face grow, while some types of crowding are simply the result of malpositioned teeth. It is important to talk to your dentist about the appropriate time to intervene and when it is prudent to see an orthodontist. Your dentist can help navigate which types of crowding will require early intervention, and which types can be treated later in adolescence.

Pediatric dentists undergo extensive training in growth the development, as well as orthodontic care. Timing and early intervention can be key in developing a comprehensive treatment approach for a child.