While some people are born with a naturally perfect smile, most need orthodontic care to achieve a healthy, straight smile. So why the disparity? How come two otherwise normal, healthy people can have such dramatically different orthodontic outcomes and need radically different types of treatment? Well, as it turns out, the problem comes down to our genetics.
An Evolutionary Conundrum
While humans are often considered the peak of evolution, it turns out, evolution wasn’t quite finished with us! Tracing the development of our ancestors in the Homo genus – species like Australopithecus and Homo habilis, and Homo erectus – shows a common trend in the evolution of our mouth: namely, that it’s been getting smaller. As the latest in the line of Homo species, our mouths are the smallest yet – but unfortunately, our teeth haven’t quite caught up.
In most normal adults, the jawline just isn’t big enough to support 32 fully-grown adult teeth, which is why most people need to have wisdom teeth removed – and why most people’s teeth grow in crooked, necessitating orthodontics. While some people get lucky with a beautiful smile off the bat, we can blame evolution for the fact that most of us will need orthodontic treatment.
In addition to the physiological problems, our own habits can sometimes impede our development. While thumb sucking is adorable in infants, if it continues past age four, it can actually change the angle of the front teeth and create an open bite. The same thing can happen with tongue thrusting, which is when a child throws their tongue forward when they swallow. These habits may seem small, but if left uncorrected over a long period of time, they can alter the developmental trajectory of the teeth, creating a malocclusion (bad bite).
Contact Your Salt Lake City, UT Braces Experts
Truthfully, the only way to ensure a straight, healthy, beautiful smile is through orthodontic treatment – and that’s our specialty. We’ve helped countless patients of all ages throughout the greater Salt Lake area achieve a beautiful smile, and we’d be thrilled to do the same for you. Feel free to call us at 801.999.4431 or reach out to us at our contact page with any questions, or if you’d like to come in for an appointment, just request your free consultation using our easy online form. We can’t wait to hear from you, and we hope to see you back at this blog for more information on all things orthodontic!