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Are Crooked Teeth Genetic? What to Know

Are Crooked Teeth Genetic? What to Know

How do you know if your smile is a cause for concern? Sometimes, the mirror is not enough.

Flipping our lips up, we see that our teeth don’t always quite line up. If your child or another loved one has a similar quirk, you may have wondered whether it was a mere habit or a sign of a serious inherited condition.

Are crooked teeth genetic? The answer to that query is a bit more complicated than a mere yes or no. Keep reading to find out what’s wrong when your smile is a little off.

The Role of Genetic Predisposition

Genetic predisposition can play a significant role in the development of crooked teeth. You can inherit traits related to tooth size, jaw size, and tooth eruption patterns from parents, which can influence the alignment of teeth.

Here are a few genetic factors that can contribute to crooked teeth:

  • Tooth size and jaw size discrepancy
  • Jaw structure and shape
  • Tooth eruption patterns
  • Tooth inclination

What Causes Malocclusion Tendencies

Malocclusion refers to the misalignment or incorrect positioning of the teeth when the jaws are closed. There are several factors that can contribute to malocclusion tendencies, including:

Dental Development

Problems during dental development can lead to malocclusion. Dental development refers to the process of tooth formation and eruption, which begins during prenatal development and continues into early adulthood. It involves the growth, positioning, and eruption of both primary (baby) and permanent teeth.

Dental development is a complex process that follows a general timeline and involves various stages:

Formation of Primary Teeth

Tooth development begins in the prenatal stage, with the formation of primary teeth, also known as deciduous or baby teeth, in the developing fetus. The primary teeth start to develop around the second trimester of pregnancy.

Eruption of Primary Teeth

The eruption of primary teeth typically begins around six months to one year of age and continues until around age three. The eruption sequence varies, but the lower central incisors are usually the first to emerge, followed by the upper central incisors, lateral incisors, first molars, canines, and second molars.

Mixed Dentition Stage

This stage occurs when a child has both primary and permanent teeth present in their mouth. It usually starts around the age of six and continues until the last primary teeth are lost, which is around the age of 12 or 13. During this stage, the roots of the primary teeth start to resorb, making room for the eruption of permanent teeth.

Formation and Eruption of Permanent Teeth

Permanent teeth begin forming underneath the primary teeth even before their eruption. The process of permanent tooth development occurs in a sequential manner, with different types of teeth erupting at different ages.

Growth and Development of Jaws

Alongside tooth development, the jaws also undergo growth and development. The growth of the jaws influences the space available for the eruption and alignment of teeth. Problems with jaw growth or size can contribute to malocclusion and the need for orthodontic treatment.

Thumb Sucking or Pacifier Use

Prolonged thumb sucking or pacifier use can affect the growth and alignment of the teeth and jaw. The pressure exerted by these habits can push the teeth out of position, causing malocclusion.

Mouth Breathing

Chronic mouth breathing, often due to allergies or obstructions, can impact the development of the jaw and lead to malocclusion. The tongue’s resting position, which should be against the roof of the mouth, can also be affected by mouth breathing, further contributing to misalignment.


Trauma is one reason why teeth are incorrectly positioned in the jawbone. While there are some families with a genetic predisposition to crooked teeth in their progeny, trauma also plays a role in why some people have crooked teeth. The trauma could be mechanical, as when the individual has undergone an injury or accident.

Injury to the face or jaw can disrupt the alignment of the teeth and jaw, resulting in malocclusion. Fractures or dislocation of the jaw can affect how the upper and lower teeth fit together.

Early Tooth Loss

If primary (baby) teeth are lost prematurely due to decay or injury, it can affect the alignment of the permanent teeth. The remaining teeth may shift or tilt into the empty spaces, causing malocclusion.

Poor Oral Habits

Poor oral habits such as tongue thrusting (pushing the tongue against the front teeth when swallowing) or incorrect swallowing patterns can contribute to malocclusion. These habits can place pressure on the teeth, causing them to move out of position.

It’s important to note that malocclusion tendencies can vary widely among individuals, and multiple factors often contribute to the development of malocclusion.

If you suspect you have malocclusion or are concerned about your dental alignment, visit this orthodontist to evaluate your specific situation and provide appropriate treatment options.

What to Do When You Have Crooked Teeth

Genetics determines whether your teeth will be crowded, spaced, or rotated. Poor dental care can speed up the process of crooked teeth, as not getting checked and treated at a young age can lead to more severe conditions later in life. Having crooked teeth is a common issue, so there are many treatments available for straightening teeth. Good oral hygiene is a cornerstone.

Braces and retainers can help realign the teeth and prevent further issues from occurring. If these two methods fail, then your dentist may recommend Invisalign, which can also improve the alignment of teeth.

All treatment paths should be discussed with your dentist. With the right guidance, having crooked teeth no longer needs to be a worry.

So Are Crooked Teeth Genetic?

The question “Are crooked teeth genetic?” serves as a thought-provoking inquiry into the underlying causes of dental misalignment. It can have both genetic and environmental influences. Knowing what is teeth genetics and what might be preventable can guide your decision-making.

Seeing a dental professional and getting regular checkups is the best way to maintain oral health. Don’t wait. Make an appointment today!

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