4million Americans wear braces. Braces can help improve not only your smile but also your oral health. It’s also essential to get braces as a child so you don’t endure any dental issues as an adult.
If you are a parent, you’re probably wondering if your child qualifies for braces. Detecting any dental problems early can help prevent a myriad of different dental complications.
Before visiting the orthodontist, you can identify the common signs, whether by looking at your child’s teeth or by noticing any abnormal behaviors.
Here are common signs your child needs braces.
When looking at your child, do you notice their jaw isn’t perfectly aligned when they hold their mouth in a natural position? This can be due to a number of different reasons.
The most common reasons for jaw misalignment include an underbite, overbite, and crossbite. Fortunately, braces can fix all of these problems.
If you don’t fix this problem, the problems may get worse. Your child won’t be able to chew their food properly. In addition, they also risk constant cheek and tongue biting.
Losing Baby Teeth Too Early or Too Late
Children start losing their baby teeth at about 6 years old. But there’s a chance they will lose their baby teeth before or after this time. However, this means your child will likely need braces.
If your child loses their baby teeth too early, their teeth can move into the empty spaces where their adult teeth are supposed to grow.
Losing baby teeth too late also risk misalignment issues.
Both of these dental problems will require braces so the issues don’t persist.
Sucking thumbs and fingers is a normal habit for babies and toddlers. But what if this behavior carries into childhood? Surprisingly, it can cause a myriad of dental issues.
The most common issue prolonged thumb-sucking causes are front teeth protrusion, causing them to move outward more than normal. Prolonged thumb-sucking can also cause overcrowding on the bottom teeth.
When should you worry about your child’s thumb sucking?
As long as they’re only four years old, the behavior likely won’t cause any damage. But if they’re older and still suck their thumb, then try and break that habit to prevent future dental problems.
You can easily notice overcrowding in your child’s teeth. Their teeth will overlap or they will be too close together.
Overtime, overcrowding can cause many problems. This includes uncomfortable biting, difficulties chewing, mouth breathing, lisps, and irregular teeth alignment.
Teeth crowding can also cause severe problems. Your child won’t be able to properly brush or floss their teeth, causing plaque development. This leaves them at risk to develop tooth decay.
Braces help straighten out their teeth. The teeth will also move to their proper position. This prevents both acute and severe dental problems.
Mouth Breathing can signal many physical problems, including dental problems.
With their mouth constantly open, their overall facial and mouth appearance will alter. It also affects the way their teeth grow.
For example, mouth breathing can cause a narrow jaw. This gives teeth limited room to grow, resulting in issues such as overcrowding.
Difficulty Biting or Chewing
When your mouth and teeth are correctly aligned, you should bite down and chew comfortably. Discomfort or pain while biting and chewing is another common sign your child will need braces.
If your child can’t effectively bite or chew, there’s probably an issue with their bite. Our top and bottom teeth are supposed to fit together perfectly. Braces can fix any bite issues to prevent any difficulties while eating.
How do you know they’re having difficulties biting or chewing? Give them an apple.
See if they can comfortably bite into the apple and can chew. If they’re unable to bite into the apple or are experiencing pain, take your child to the orthodontist.
What if they can’t eat without biting their tongue or lip? This is another common sign of bite issues.
In this scenario, ask your child to keep their teeth closed but lips opened. Check and see if their teeth fit together. If not, take your child to the orthodontist.
What if your child can chew but is making weird chewing noises and is even grinding their teeth while chewing? These are other symptoms of chewing issues.
Crooked teeth are one of the easiest signs to spot. The teeth grow in different directions and even in different spaces.
There are many reasons why children develop crooked teeth and it’s not always due to health or dental issues.
Genetics play a role in their teeth and also how their baby and adult teeth grow in. But some habits, such as prolonged thumb-sucking, poses a greater risk of developing crooked teeth.
While crooked teeth are unsightly, they’re perfectly normal. But it’s still advised that you straighten their teeth with braces. Crooked teeth can cause speech issues and can interfere with their oral health.
My Child Needs Braces: How Young Is Too Young?
If your child shows any of these signs, braces can help improve their oral health and correct their teeth and jaw placement. But how young is too young for braces?
This varies between children and your orthodontist can provide the best insight.
As a rule of thumb, take your child in for their first orthodontist appointment at age 9. At this age, your child already has permanent teeth and some may still be growing.
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There are many signs your child needs braces. Some of these issues are inherited while many are due to behavior issues such as prolonged thumb-sucking.
If your child is showing one or more of these symptoms, braces will help correct the issue. But first, you need to see the orthodontist.
We offer a free initial exam. Click here to learn more about our offer. We have three offices: Clermont, Windermere, and Mount Dora. Come visit us soon!