Dear Tooth Fairy,
My front bottom teeth are getting very crooked. Why is that and what can be done about it?
There are several theories as to what attributes to the shifting of the teeth. Many believe that wisdom teeth push their teeth together and cause the crowding. Some research suggests that there is a forward drifting of teeth with time, whether wisdom teeth are present or not. One theory as to why teeth would crowd is due to the forces that are placed on the teeth. When opposing teeth meet head-on (up and down straight and not on angles or slopes), then the teeth generally will not move. On the other hand, if a tooth is hit on an angle, the side pressures could cause shifting of the teeth and potential damage to the teeth. Teeth are held in their position by the opposing teeth, adjacent teeth, tongue pressure and lip/cheek pressure. If for example, if the front teeth do not touch the opposing teeth, they will keep erupting until a contact is established.
Once teeth have crowded, there may be a need for limited orthodontics, whether it is braces or clear retainer-like devices, to straighten the teeth. An evaluation of the bite and other potential causes should be taken into consideartion also so that the shifting is not repeated. A permanent retainer might be a good option for some cases as well.