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It seems like orthodontic care is almost a rite of passage in the adolescent years. But can orthodontia be avoided? What causes crooked teeth in the first place? As it turns out, the answer is more complex than you might expect. And while you can reduce your child’s risk for dental misalignment, there are some risk factors that are simply out of your control. 

At Smiles Dentistry for Kids in Overland Park, KS, Dr. Matt and Dr. Craven treat babies, teens, and everyone in between! By beginning dental care at a young age, we can sometimes prevent dental misalignment from occurring. And in those unavoidable cases, early detection can often reduce the severity of crooked teeth and shorten treatment time

To schedule an exam for your child, contact Smiles Dentistry for Kids today.


Unfortunately, if you have struggled with dental misalignment your child is more likely to have crooked teeth, too. Genetics can affect jaw and tooth size, jaw alignment, palate development, and many other factors. 

Jaw Size

With a smaller jaw, there is not enough room for all adult teeth, and crowding may occur. Scientists believe that our ancient ancestors had much larger jaws. But as food became softer and more refined, humans evolved to have smaller jaws. As a result, dental crowding is a common problem. 

Oral Habits

Thumb sucking, prolonged pacifier use, and long-term bottle feeding can all contribute to dental misalignment. To help protect your child’s smile, wean them from pacifiers and bottles around their first birthday. Thumb sucking is less problematic until permanent teeth start to erupt, but you should still discuss this habit with your child’s dentist. 

Poor Diet and Oral Hygiene 

Premature baby tooth loss may not seem like a major problem, but it can have far-reaching consequences for dental health. When baby teeth come out early, the nearby teeth can drift into the gap. In this way, they get in the way of the permanent teeth so there’s not enough room for them to erupt normally. A balanced diet and regular dental cleanings can protect those important baby teeth.

Why are crooked teeth a problem?

Cosmetics are the most obvious effect of missing teeth. But malocclusion can have far more serious consequences. Crowded and overlapping teeth can greatly increase the risk of decay, since food and bacteria will be more easily trapped in the tight spaces. Severe misalignment can also cause speech impediments. 

What are the treatment options?

The right treatment will depend on your child’s age and the severity of misalignment. Some children benefit from early orthodontic intervention, such as palatal expanders, which will create more room for adult teeth. Though these kids will typically need braces at a later date, treatment time is usually much shorter. 

Dr. Matt and Dr. Craven evaluate dental alignment at every routine exam. Then they can refer your child to a trusted orthodontist for appropriate care. They can also provide tips to improve oral health and reduce the risk of malocclusion.

Contact a Pediatric Dentist Today

To make an appointment for your child, contact Smiles Dentistry for Kids. 

Reach us online or call us at (913) 685-9990.

Smiles Dentistry For Kids

14700 Metcalf Ave, Suite 110
Overland Park, KS 66223
(913) 685-9990
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm

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