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Crooked Teeth: 5 Common Causes and How to Avoid them


Dr. Andreas

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Written by

Q.F. Nayibe Cubillos Morales


Medically Reviewed by

Dr. Gustavo Assatourians D.D.S

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Crooked teeth are considered to be the third most prevalent and impactful oral pathology in the world. It is called dental malposition, misaligned teeth, or malocclusion.

In other words, occlusion is the correct alignment of the teeth and of the upper and lower jaws. It has a direct effect on overall well-being.

Generally, malalignment of the teeth is approached from the perspective of good aesthetics. A search for the phrase “smile design” on the  Internet reveals more than 97 million files with information on the perfect smile that so many want to achieve.

However, when searching  “dental malocclusion”, 375,000 results will be found. The difference between these two figures shows where most of the attention is turned; clearly, it is toward having perfectly straight teeth for the sake of appearance, leaving the effects on health in the background.

For some people, a few misaligned (crooked) teeth are part of their appeal. In other cases, dental malposition involves several teeth and requires attention.

Malocclusion has consequences on people’s health: difficulty in practicing dental hygiene, problems eating, and headaches, among others. Here you will find information about the various symptoms, the different causes and the consequences, and the options available to correct dental alignment.


What are the Symptoms?

Some of the symptoms  registered by dental malposition are:

 Abnormal appearance of the face

 Difficulty speaking

 Headache or headaches

 Involuntary biting of  the cheeks

 Ringing in the ear

 Breathing through the mouth without being able to close the lips

 Noises or pain in the jaw muscles


What Causes Crooked Teeth?

Malocclusion may be hereditary. It can also be a consequence of the difference in size between the jaw and the teeth, such that the teeth adjust their position within the available spaces and thus become misaligned.

Another situation that produces dental misalignment is the difference in size between the arches of the upper and lower jaws, which generates abnormal bite patterns.

crooked teeth

Malocclusion is not an exclusive condition of permanent teeth. Milk or primary teeth can also come out crooked or show the condition later. Sometimes baby teeth have too much space in the gums and move into misaligned, crooked positions.

However,  the position of milk teeth has no effect on the alignment shown by the permanent teeth. Other situations can affect the alignment of the primary or permanent teeth:

Chewing less

Due to the processed foods that are frequently consumed, less chewing is exerted, which has had an effect on the size of the jaw: now it is smaller and shorter, a circumstance that -according to specialists may be related to the teeth alignment.

Lack of timely dental care

Loss of teeth, tumors in the mouth or jaw, and ill-fitting braces or dentures are all causes of malocclusion. Misaligned teeth make oral hygiene difficult, a situation that opens avenues for cavities, gum disease, and other oral health issues.

Blows or injuries

A blow to the mouth or face can affect the location of the teeth and their alignment. Likewise, any malalignment of the jaw after a serious injury or fracture will have an effect on the correct placement of the teeth long term.

Habits to eliminate

Some repetitive behaviors have adverse effects on the muscles of the mouth and face. In addition, they can generate a variation in the alignment of the jaw. These behaviors are called myofunctional bad habits and refer to:

 Sucking a finger

 Putting pressure  on the teeth with the tongue

 Breathing through the mouth

 Using a bottle or pacifier after the age of three

Bad myofunctional habits (dysfunctions related to speech, writing, teeth and jaws associated with orofacial and respiratory habits) can be the cause of a malocclusion.

Misaligned jaws

Specialists describe three types of mandibular alignment:

1. Normal bite: It is the most frequent diagnosis and occurs when the upper teeth protrude a little from the lower ones.

2. Retrognathism or overbite: In these cases, the upper jaw and teeth noticeably overlap the lower jaw, causing an abnormal bite.

3. Prognathism or submortida: It occurs when the lower jaw protrudes from the upper.


Why is it Important to have Aligned Teeth?

The correct alignment of the teeth facilitates a better quality of life. Having a denture with the correct occlusion allows adequate food intake and chewing.

Teeth in the correct alignment will not lead to episodes of headaches or migraines. Other situations are facilitated:

 Ease of cleaning the interdental space, thus avoiding cavities as well as gum disease that – if not treated in a timely manner – is the cause of periodontal disease or periodontitis.

• Talking in a clear and understandable way since crooked teeth affect proper pronunciation and vocalization.

 There will be no excessive wear on the teeth, gums, and jaw muscles. Neither will there be cracked pieces, nor tension in the maxilla. Non-aligned teeth, with malocclusion, favor tooth wear and generate mistreatment of the gums and jaw muscles. The result is cracked teeth and stresses on the jaw joint.

 Adequate chewing and intake. Crooked teeth interfere with the correct intake of food and therefore digestion.


What Options are Available to Correct Malocclusion?


Finding an effective solution for each case requires consulting with an orthodontist. There are several alternatives:

• Breaks: They are a good option for children since even their gums and bone tissue are flexible and malleable. Treatment can take between two and three years.

• Porcelain Veneers: They are an aesthetic option. Veneers are strategically placed to give the appearance of correct dental alignment, with a perfect smile.

• Surgery: It is another option to align teeth in less time. It is generally prescribed for adults.

• Metal braces (brackets): These are a suitable option for those with dental alignment problems that require more care. The continuous pressure on the teeth gradually displaces them, and the jaw changes its shape to adapt.

• Ceramic brackets: They are less visible than metallic ones and require the same treatment, but they break easily. In addition, they stain and entail a higher cost.

• Transparent plastic aligners: These are made to measure for each person to facilitate adaptation in the mouth. They are located on each tooth and are replaced twice a month. Note: this is an unsuccessful alternative for advanced malocclusion.


Are there Home Therapies for Malocclusion?

Trying to straighten the teeth with home therapies is not appropriate, since inappropriate methods can bring consequences with a higher level of affectation than the original crooked denture.

Using someone else’s orthopedic elements (brackets) or self-designed instruments can exert excessive pressure on the teeth and affect the root and ligaments, with the following consequences:


 Intense pain

 Affected tooth enamel

 Abused gums

 Major dental misalignment

• Loss of teeth

 Broken or fractured teeth

If dental malposition is the cause of difficulty in eating, episodes of headache or migraines, not speaking in a precise and understandable manner, etc.,  it affects the quality of life. It is suggested to consult with a specialist and receive the required treatment, according to the prescribed professional diagnosis.



1. Cartes, Ricardo / Araya, Eric / Valdes Carolina (2010)Malocclusions and their psychosocial impact in students of an intercultural high school – International Journal of Odontostomatology /

2. Hennessy, Bernard (February 2022)Malocclusion /

3. McGuire, John (s.f) The Best Ways To Straighten Teeth, According To Experts Who Know /

4. MedlinePlus (s.f) Defective dental occlusion /,surcos%20de%20los%20molares%20opuestos

5. Watson, Kathryn (Marzo 21 de 2020)Is There a Way to Straighten Teeth Without Braces? /

6. Whelan, Corey (May 8, 2019).What Causes Crooked Teeth and How to Straighten Them /

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