Over 4 million people in the US wear braces. About 75% of these individuals are children. How do you know when it’s time to consider braces for kids?
Here are three signs it’s time to take your child to the orthodontist. By learning how to recognize these signs, you can get your child help right away.
The sooner they get their braces, the sooner they can enjoy their stunning smile! In addition to improving their appearance, braces can also improve functionality. Your child will have an easier time chewing and speaking when their teeth are aligned.
When should kids get braces? Keep reading to find out!
Signs It’s Time
Before scheduling an appointment with an orthodontist, pay attention to how your child behaves. The issues they experience with their teeth could indicate they need traditional braces.
If you recognize these signs, find a family dentist near me right away.
Here are three ways you can tell it’s time to consider braces for kids.
1. Spacing or Bite Issues
Your child’s jawbones are likely still soft. Since they’re more pliable at a young age, their jaws are more responsive to procedures like braces.
It’s important to consider treatment as soon as possible. Treating major teeth developmental problems early on can prove more beneficial. You can ensure a better treatment outcome if you don’t wait for the issue to get worse.
The procedure might not take as long if they receive treatment at a young age. Most treatments are more effective for children than teens and adults.
Take your child in for a checkup with an orthodontist by the time they’re 7 years old.
Your dentist can recognize if your child is experiencing spacing or bite issues.
For example, does your child have a crossbite? A severe crossbite causes the upper teeth to close within the lower teeth. This issue could cause uneven wear and tear on enamel.
Your dentist might suggest a palatal expander if your child has a crossbite. The device will widen your child’s upper jaw over time.
It’s important to schedule treatment right away. Waiting too long could require more intensive treatment options. For example, your child might require oral surgery.
You should also contact an orthodontist if your child’s teeth are overcrowded.
Overcrowding occurs when the jaw is too small for your child’s permanent teeth. Treating crowding issues early on can shorten the duration of their treatment. It can also help your child avoid complications in the future.
Does your child have protruding teeth? Leaving these problems unattended can increase the risk of fractures and chipping.
Your child could also experience issues chewing. Traditional braces can help.
When should kids get braces? If your children have difficulties with their teeth, it’s time to see an orthodontist.
For example, your child might have crooked teeth. Teeth can grow in crooked when permanent teeth grow around baby teeth. It’s also possible your child’s jaw isn’t large enough yet.
Do your child’s teeth meet on each side? Too much space between each tooth can cause crowding, too.
Your child might have issues brushing and flossing their teeth properly. Without proper oral hygiene, plaque and tartar can form. You need a dentist to clean away tartar.
Otherwise, your child might experience tooth decay. Their risk of gum disease could increase as well.
Meanwhile, your child could develop issues biting or chewing. A misalignment might make it more difficult to eat. Their nutrition could suffer as a result.
They might accidentally bite the inside of their cheeks or tongue as well.
If your child is experiencing these difficulties, speak with a dentist. They can help you determine if it’s time for your child to start treatment.
3. Habits Like Thumb Sucking
Your child could develop habits like mouth breathing and thumb sucking if they have misaligned teeth. Most children stop sucking their thumbs at the age of 4. If they continue, they’ll add unnecessary pressure on their upper jaw.
Their teeth could start to move apart. Their jaw might change shape as well.
Thumb sucking could cause an open bite and impair your child’s speech.
Does your child press their tongue against the inside of their teeth? This issue is known as tongue thrusting. Tongue thrusting can also cause an open bite.
Pay attention if your child starts breathing through their mouth more often. Their tongue and face might experience alterations as a result. Their upper and lower jaw might grow abnormally, too.
If these problems sound familiar, speak with an orthodontist.
What are the benefits of traditional braces?
For starters, braces can close the gaps between your child’s teeth. Food particles will have a more difficult time sneaking between these gaps. Your child’s risk of tooth decay could decrease as a result.
Their risk of gum disease could decrease, too. Gum disease develops when bacteria from tartar infect the gums. Your child’s gums could start to erode away from their teeth.
They could even start losing their teeth.
If your child’s teeth are misaligned, they could develop speech problems. Some children develop a lisp while others struggle to pronounce certain words.
Braces for kids could help.
Speech problems often develop when there’s a gap between the lower and upper teeth. Braces could straighten your child’s teeth and close this gap.
When your child’s teeth are aligned, they’ll have an easier time chewing, too. Otherwise, they could experience jaw pain and muscle stiffness. They might not eat to avoid pain symptoms.
If your child stops eating to avoid pain, they could experience malnutrition.
Chewing your food properly is important. When properly chewed, food is easier to digest. Your child’s digestion could improve as well.
Does your child have protruding or crooked teeth? Protruding teeth could scratch the inside of their gums. If they’re in a sporting accident, they could even knock out a tooth.
Keeping your child’s teeth aligned with traditional braces can help them avoid injuries in the future.
Braces for Kids: 3 Signs It’s Time to Straighten Your Child’s Smile
To recap, when should you consider braces for kids? Take your child to visit an orthodontist by the time they’re seven. Otherwise, keep an eye out for these signs they need braces.
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