What Dentists Need to Know to Effectively Diagnose Crooked Teeth

Beautiful smiles come in all shapes and sizes, yet what causes a smile to go a little crooked? While we may not know exactly what causes it in every situation, there are several causes for crooked teeth.

It’s in the Genes

One of the biggest factors of whether a smile is straight or not is genetics. Just like hair color and how tall you are, genetics plays a big role in whether somebody will need braces. It also affects dental issues like over bites and under bites.Typically, if your patient’s parents had issues with their teeth, they do too. On the other hand though, if those parents had great natural teeth, they probably passed those genes on to their children.

Dental Accidents

Another cause of crooked teeth is different dental accidents. One example is somebody with extensive gingivitis that ruined their teeth. Mistakes in dental care like poorly done fillings, misalignment after jaw surgery, or losing baby teeth too early can also cause a crooked smile.

Understanding and diagnosing if a dental accident has caused crooked teeth can lead to easier teeth correction.

Tongue Thrust

A lesser known cause of crooked teeth is tongue thrust, also known as immature or reverse swallowing. In small children, it’s a completely normal practice that they typically outgrow by the age of 6.

However, if people don’t outgrow tongue thrust, it can wreak havoc on their teeth. Because of the pressure exerted during swallowing, it can push and pull teeth in different directions. It’s important for dentists to be aware of tongue thrust because it needs to be diagnosed and corrected before somebody pursues orthodontic work.

Tongue thrust is present in 60 to 80 percent of all orthodontic patients and if left undiagnosed and treated, can cost patients time, money and not fix the problem.

Diagnosing and treatment for Tongue Thrust needs to be done by a trained Orofacial Myologist. At Boise Speech and Hearing Clinic, we have several trained Orofacial Myologists on staff and can assist patients with tongue thrust.

If you want to learn how to identify tongue thrust in your patients, download our guide “5 Steps to Identify Tongue Thrust.” It will guide you in determining when your patients may have tongue thrust.

Rian Chatterton, owner of Chatterton Myo Courses
Rian Chatterton

Rian Chatterton is the owner of Center for Orofacial Myology and creator of Chatterton Myo Courses™. As a child, Rian Chatterton struggled with her R sounds. She loved the experience of attending speech therapy and was able to overcome her speech challenges. Being able to articulate clearly, helped her gain confidence and no longer feel embarrassed. This struggle led to a love for the field of speech-language pathology, where she has worked since 2006. With a Bachelor of Science in Speech Language Pathology and Audiology from Idaho State University (2002), a Masters degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Idaho State University (2004), she has worked with children, adolescents, and adults with a variety of communication disorders, specializing in the areas of Autism Spectrum Disorders, Augmentative & Alternative Communication, and Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders. Her continued passion to help others has led to continuing her education with a Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) from the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA), a State of Idaho License for Speech Language Pathology and completed her certification process with the International Association of Orofacial Myology (IAOM) in 2016. Rian took over ownership of Boise Speech and Hearing Clinic in the summer of 2013 and established the Center for Orofacial Myology and Chatterton Myo Courses™ in 2021. Her desire to make a larger impact on those who struggle with Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders led to opening up the Chatterton Myo Courses™program to other professionals in the field of Speech-Language. This program has a 35 year long history with Boise Speech and Hearing Clinic as it was developed by the owner, Galen Peachey, who was one of the founders of the IAOM. Disclosure: Financials: Benefits financially from the teaching, selling, and use of these products. Earns a salary from the Center for Orofacial Myology™. Non-financial: No relevant non-financial relationship exists.