What causes teeth to be crowded and patients to need orthodontics? It seems like the like one of the old proverbial questions to which nobody has the answer. Not the case.

As I alluded to in my “Why is my child grinding their teeth?” post, there is direct and scientifically verified reason as to why most cases of crowding occur. The reason why most patients and more than likely you the reader have never heard the answer is that it is not widely taught in “mainstream” dental schools or orthodontist training programs. The majority tend to still teach decades old information and not what I am about to enlighten you the reader about.  Most cases of orthodontic tooth crowding are a direct result of what is happening or happened in the childs airway and mouth. So lets first discuss what I mean by whats happening in the mouth.

God designed babies to be breastfed, a fact that we can all agree on. There were no plastic bottles thousands of years ago. If you go to any natural history museum anywhere, I would challenge you to find a human jaw on display that is several thousand years old with crowded teeth. I have yet to see it and have been to many museums, but instead tend to find these well developed jaws with quite straight teeth. Those humans were all breastfed, there was not an alternative. And it was probably done for quite some time. Natural, breastfeeding encourages the expansion of the bone and the teeth along with it in a babies developing jaw. I believe its more common today in our busy society with all parents working to have babies who are bottle and formula fed. The bottle is not a good substitution for breastfeeding. The mechanism is different enough to not have the arch developing benefits that were naturally intended.  OK, so we have established that breastfeeding encourages arch and jaw development, so how does the airway relate to this discussion.

Narrow upper arch leading to crowding

Narrow upper arch leading to crowding

Humans are designed to breath through the nose. Mouth breathing, especially during early development, does not place the tongue in the roof of the mouth where it belongs exerting pressure on the teeth around it. By expanding the upper palate, the floor of the nose is also brought down which further opens the airway. When the arch does not expand like it should, you also get limited space for the teeth and crowding of teeth. If the tonsils and adenoids are narrowing the airway, along with allergies causing nasal swelling, it changes everything even further. The face in fact would typically look narrower that it otherwise would because the natural development of the upper and lower arches is stunted.  I am just touching on the high points here, but as I hope the reader is beginning to see this is a multifactorial problem that leads to crowding and improper jaw-skeletal development. It is not that difficult to prevent if we are educated as to why its happening and then seek the proper treatment.

The treatment will usually involve me referring the patient to the ENT for evaluation of tonsils, adenoids, nasal airway and allergy testing.  We may also need to begin early interceptive orthodontics in order to play catchup expanding the arches to correct the crowding that I spoke of.  The feedback that I tend to hear from parents after treatment is that their child is no longer snoring, sleeps better, stops grinding their teeth and often behaves better.

So if you follow what I outlined in this article and need a dentist in Victoria, TX to asses your child please give us a call at 361-573-7722.