So you have a sneaking suspicion your child may need to see an Orthodontist…
One of the most common questions parents ask dentists is “What are the signs my child will need braces?”
Quite simply, there is no straightforward answer to this question. Only your child’s dentist can give a definitive answer as to whether he does indeed need to have braces.
However, there are circumstances wherein it will be readily apparent that your child may need to have braces installed, or at the very least, schedule a visit to the orthodontist. What are these signs?
These may include:
- Irregular loss of baby teeth. It’s either your child lost his baby teeth earlier or later than usual.
- Your child has difficulty biting and/or chewing.
- Your child’s teeth are crooked, overlapping, or overly crowded.
- Your child often accidentally bites the roof of his mouth or his cheeks.
- His jaws shift or make unusual sounds.
- His teeth either do not meet or, when these do, they meet abnormally.
- Disproportion between your child’s teeth and the rest of his face.
But on top of these, there are a few simple signs that you might overlook that a dentist can see. These include tooth decay. This is why it is crucial for your child to have his teeth checked on a regular basis even at a young age. You might not immediately notice signs that your child needs braces, but his dentist can. And at the same time, his dentist can take prompt action to prevent tooth decay from causing worse problems.
How Genetics Can Impact Your Child’s Dental Health
Some children are genetically predisposed to have orthodontic problems which require the use of braces. However, even if your child does not have the genes that make him susceptible to these problems, he may develop bad habits or succumb to some problems which can contribute to the need for braces. These include poor nutrition, thumb sucking, mouth breathing, and accidents.
The next inevitable question to ask is when the best time for your child to get braces is.
Again, there is no simple or straightforward way to answer this question as each child is different. Your child’s dentist may recommend orthodontic treatment as soon as possible or he may encourage waiting a few more years. In fact, it is not uncommon for adults to get orthodontic treatment, although most orthodontists recommend getting braces while the child’s jaws are still growing.
Some children get braces at as early as five years old while others get braces when their permanent teeth replace their baby teeth at around 10 to 13 years old. Generally speaking, most orthodontists recommend getting braces between the ages of eight and 14 years old while the child is still growing and the permanent teeth are just starting to show.