What Causes Teeth to Become Gapped & Crooked?

Orthodontics Orange County, CA

Teeth Issues

There are many reasons why gaps may form between your teeth, or they may become crooked. Different stages of life are often involved. Some of the most common causes include:

Missing Teeth

Early loss of adult and baby teeth early can affect the position of the remaining teeth. If a tooth is missing, the teeth surrounding the open area will try to drift into the available gaps. In some cases, baby teeth can be replaced by the larger and permanent adult teeth, causing overlaps and crowding within a limited space.


Unhealthy habits such as thumb-sucking put undue pressure on the teeth and move them out of their correct positions, much like braces do. Typically, teeth forced to move into a different location will result in an open bite, leaving a gap where the upper and lower teeth don’t bite together correctly.


An individual’s genetics have a significant impact on an individual’s likelihood of inheriting misaligned teeth or jaws. So, if your parents have crooked teeth, there’s a substantial possibility that you might have them too. Having a small jaw can also increase the risk of teeth being crowded together when they come in—there’s simply not enough room in the small jaw for them to assume their proper spaces.

Gum Disease

Any problems that impact the gums, such as injuries or illnesses, can eventually affect the teeth, as well. Gum disease can break down the gum tissue and can cause teeth to loosen, change their alignment, and change the bite.


Unfortunately, time can take its toll on the positioning of your teeth. As you grow older, your teeth can have a tendency to drift forward and become more crowded. Contrary to popular belief, wisdom teeth are not to blame. The real cause of this age-related movement is the jaw bone, which loses density and changes shape over the years.

Not Wearing Your Retainer

The most significant cause of recurring crowding and orthodontic relapse among orthodontic patients is undoubtedly not using or losing retainers. If you want your teeth to remain straight and your bite to stay aligned after wearing braces, you are well-advised to follow your orthodontist’s instructions and wear your retainer nightly.

Solutions for Crooked Teeth

Whatever the cause of your crooked teeth, there is likely an orthodontic solution. Braces are a time-tested and very effective way to straighten teeth that are crooked or out of proper alignment. And, if patients wear their retainers regularly, their teeth should stay straight and attractive-looking for many, many years to come.

For individuals who want straighter teeth but don’t like the look of braces, braces come in clear forms called invisible aligners. Invisible aligners are also removable and make cleaning and maintaining good oral hygiene much more manageable. Reach out to an orthodontist from a clinic like John Redmond Orthodontics to learn more about different orthodontic treatments.