According to recent studies, about 75% of children and teens will develop dental problems that require some sort of orthodontic treatment. As your son or daughter gets older, you may start to wonder if they need braces and when they should begin treatment. Detecting orthodontic issues early in your child’s life can make all the difference in preventing serious complications in the future. Here are five signs to keep a lookout for that could mean your little one needs braces in Webster.
1.) Early or Late Loss of Baby Teeth
Baby teeth may not be a permanent fixture of your little one’s smile, but they play an important role in their oral development. They hold space in the jaw for adult teeth and help them come in correctly. If your son or daughter loses their baby teeth earlier or later than they should, they may experience misaligned or trapped permanent teeth.
2.) Misaligned Jaw or Bite Problems
If your child’s jaws don’t match up correctly, they may have an overbite, underbite, or crossbite. This can put extra stress on their jaw joints and make chewing more difficult. Keep an eye out for signs that your child may have a misaligned jaw, such as frequent tongue or cheek biting, troubles eating, or jaws that appear out of proportion to the rest of their face.
3.) Crowded Teeth
Crowded teeth that are too close together or overlap can cause a wide variety of problems. They create small spaces that easily trap plaque and bacteria and are difficult for your little one to clean. This increases their risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and many other oral health conditions. Crowded teeth can also cause uncomfortable chewing, lisps, mouth breathing, and severely crooked teeth later in life.
4.) Prolonged Thumb Sucking
Thumb sucking is a natural reflex in children that typically fades by the age of four. However, if this habit continues past the age of four, or if they suck their thumb aggressively, the extra pressure in their mouth can cause crowded or protruding teeth and influence how their jaws and roof of their mouth develop.
5.) Mouth Breathing
If your child’s tongue doesn’t fit comfortably on the roof of their mouth because of orthodontic issues, they’re more likely to breathe through their mouth. Continually breathing through the mouth can cause your little one to develop narrow jaws and less space for permanent teeth to come in.
When Your Child Should See an Orthodontist
They only way to know for sure if your son or daughter needs braces is to schedule an appointment with their orthodontist. According to most dental experts, children should have their first orthodontic evaluation by the time they’re seven years old. While this may seem young, an early examination of their oral development is the best way to spot potential orthodontic issues as early as possible and predict what kind of treatment will be needed and when. In most cases, your orthodontist will monitor your son’s or daughter’s growing smile until the age of 11-14, when they’ll likely need to be fitted for braces.
Remember, helping your child achieve a straighter smile isn’t just all about looks. Correcting misaligned teeth and bite problems will help your son or daughter enjoy years of happy, healthy smiles!
About the Practice
At Simply Orthodontics, we’re proud to help the young smiles of Webster and the surrounding communities stay healthy as they grow. We use the latest dental technology and our genuine passion for our patients’ wellbeing to create 100% custom treatment plans for each unique smile. Whether your child needs pediatric braces, your teen is interested in Invisalign, or you need an adult orthodontic treatment, we have the tools, training, and experience you and your family needs. To see if your child needs braces, don’t hesitate to contact us online or at (508) 943-2100.