If you see crooked teeth coming in, you may be wondering when your child should get braces. Some children see an orthodontist as early as 5 or 6 years old, but most children can wait until ages 10-13. Your dentist will track your child’s tooth development for any potential dental issues.
In the meantime, you can always be on the lookout for habits that cause orthodontic issues.
Habits that Can Lead to Braces
Most orthodontic problems are genetic; however, there are some habits that encourage misaligned teeth and eventually lead to braces:
- Mouth breathing
- Poor nutrition
- Bad dental hygiene
- Finger and thumb sucking
You can then see how to tell if your child needs braces through looking at their oral development.
Signs Your Child Needs Braces
Overlapping bottom or top teeth
While it’s normal to have a slight overbite (top teeth cover the bottom teeth), it’s an issue if you can’t see much of your child’s lower teeth when they bite down. Conversely, if your child’s bottom teeth overlap their upper teeth, this is an underbite. Extensive overbites and underbites can cause premature tooth wear and other dental issues. Luckily braces can help.
Front top and bottom teeth don’t touch
This is called an open bite. If your child’s top and bottom front teeth don’t meet, chewing and biting could be difficult. This could also affect your child’s speech. Open bites can be genetic or from prolonged thumb-sucking or pacifier use.
Side teeth don’t meet
If your child’s teeth on the sides don’t meet when biting, they could have a crossbite. This could lead to uneven wear and tear on the teeth.
The most obvious and most common sign your child needs braces is if their teeth are crooked. Crooked teeth have plenty of causes, like not enough space in the jaw, permanent teeth coming in before baby teeth are gone, and genetics.
Too much spacing or crowding
Teeth with too much space in between or not enough spacing can lead to braces. These issues are easily treatable with Invisalign or braces.
Jaw or mouth pain
If your child complains of jaw or mouth pain frequently, there could be an underlying orthodontic issue. You should consult with your dentist to find the cause.
Issues chewing or biting
Misaligned teeth can cause problems chewing and eating comfortably. If your child bites their tongue or cheeks, it could mean that their bite is off and in need of orthodontic treatment.
Though speech problems can stem from a number of factors, sometimes it’s just a matter of misaligned teeth. If there are certain words your child is having trouble saying, a trip to the orthodontist and speech pathologist is in order.
Braces have come a long way. The benefits outweigh any discomforts during the process because your child will have a beautiful, healthy smile to show off for life.
Benefits of Braces
There are many reasons to get braces aside from a straighter smile.
- Improved oral health
Braces can correct misaligned bites that cause unneeded stress on certain teeth, which leads to weakened and sensitive teeth.
Having a straight and beautiful smile increases a child’s self-esteem and confidence.
- Avoid gum disease & tooth decay
Crowded and overlapping teeth increase the risk of plaque and bacteria build-up since it’s difficult to properly clean between these tight spaces. Braces move teeth into better alignment so this doesn’t happen.
- Clear speech
When teeth lean too far backward or forward, speech patterns may suffer. Braces prevent or fix this issue so your child doesn’t feel embarrassed or frustrated anymore.
It might be hard to tell if your child needs braces if signs like crooked teeth and misaligned bites aren’t obvious. However, a trip to the orthodontist or dentist will make sure your child’s dental health will stay on track so they can have a beautiful smile for years to come.
For more questions or concerns about your child’s orthodontic needs, call 719-621-9729 to make an appointment with our pediatric dentist today!