Does My Child Need Braces? 3 Signs To Look For

You’re already doing you’re best to make sure that your child maintains the best oral hygiene possible, but you may be wondering, is there more that I can be doing? Does my child need braces? And if so, you can you tell?

There are certain signs and symptoms that you can watch out for as your child’s teeth and jaw grow and develop. You can work with your pediatric dentist to help identify any orthodontic problems early, which will increase the likelihood that your child can be treated effectively. How do you know if your child needs braces? Here are three major things to watch out for.

  1. Early Signs and Symptoms

The rate at which orthodontic issues develop is dependent on the child. If you want to know —  does my child need braces? — the most important thing to do is to take them for regular dental appointments. Your child’s dentist will be able to track any potential dental issues that may arise, and they can decide if they need minor intervention or a full orthodontic screening.

Some children may need to undergo their first orthodontic evaluation at age 5 or 6. Most children can wait until most of their baby teeth fall out before their first orthodontic check up, which is usually around ages 10-13. Orthodontic treatment most commonly begins in children aged 8-13, though there are certain issues that are best treated even earlier in life.

If you’re wondering how you know if your child needs braces, there are several signs and symptoms that you can watch for.

  • early, late, or irregular loss of baby teeth
  • trouble chewing or biting
  • crowded, out of place, or blocked teeth
  • a jaw that shifts or makes noises when moved
  • biting cheeks or roof of mouth
  • teeth that align abnormally or don’t touch at all
  • jaw or teeth out of proportion to the face

Most orthodontic issues are genetic, so you may not be able to do anything to help prevent them. However, there are some orthodontic issues that can be caused by habits like thumb sucking, mouth breathing, tooth decay, physical trauma, or poor nutrition. Encouraging your child to practice proper oral hygiene habits can help prevent any unnecessary orthodontic issues.

  1. Crowding

Teeth crowding is the most common reason for parents to seek orthodontic treatment for their children. Crowding basically means just what it says — your child’s teeth are crowded because there isn’t enough space in their mouth. Teeth have to compete with each other for limited space, leading to crooked teeth.

If crowding is left untreated, it will get worse over time as your child gets older. The more severe the crowding, the more difficult it can be for your child to complete even the most basic oral hygiene tasks such as brushing and flossing. Pronounced crowding can make it impossible to clean certain areas of the teeth. Without proper cleaning, your child’s teeth will accumulate plaque that can cause a whole host of issues, including tooth decay, bad breath, gum disease, and bone loss around the affected teeth.

Luckily, crowding can be corrected with orthodontic treatment. Parents who ask, “Does my child need braces?” early in their child’s life are making the right choice — the earlier crowding issues are identified and treated, the less severe their impact will be on your child’s oral health. Orthodontic treatment can straighten and align crowded teeth, minimizing the risk for plaque buildup.

  1. Abnormal Bites

There are four types of abnormal bites that indicate the need for orthodontic treatment: overbite, underbite, crossbite, and openbite. Abnormal bites refer to the way that your child’s teeth look when their jaws are closed, and each type of abnormal bite can lead to specific issues for your child’s dental health.

A child with an overbite will have front teeth that overlap vertically and horizontally with the bottom teeth. Overbites can vary in their severity, but they’re most noticeable when the front teeth stick out much farther than the front teeth. If left untreated, overbites can increase the risk of trauma to the front teeth and the likelihood of fracturing the front teeth in the case of an injury. A child with an overbite may also suffer from complications or reduced longevity of restorative dental treatments like crowns or fillings.

An underbite is sort of the opposite of an overbite. With an underbite, your child’s upper front teeth are completely behind their lower front teeth. Underbites are common in children with disproportionate jaw size. If left untreated, underbites can lead to an imbalanced facial appearance, accelerated facial aging, and difficulty biting and chewing.

If your child has a crossbite, that means that one or more of their upper front teeth are below the opposing bottom front teeth. When a crossbite is left untreated, it can lead to several issues around the affected teeth, including excessive wear, fracturing, increased gum recession, and inability to restore worn/fractured teeth. It can also lead to abnormal jaw growth.

The last type of abnormal bite is called an openbite. A child with an openbite will have upper and lower front teeth that do not touch. If left untreated, this can lead to difficulty biting and speech problems such as lisps.

Schedule Your Appointment Today

Does your child need braces? Ultimately, only a pediatric orthodontist will be able to make the final call. However, as a parent, you can help identify any orthodontic issues that your child may be developing by keeping an eye out for any abnormalities and making sure they visit their dentist regularly.

When orthodontic issues are caught early, they can be treated quickly and effectively through procedures like braces or retainers. To schedule your child’s next dental appointment or to learn more about orthodontics, contact Children’s Dentistry of Las Vegas today!

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