Orthodontics Alert: Does My Child Need Braces?

Parents want to take care of their children in every way possible, and minding their dental health is no exception. In addition to teaching them to brush their teeth and eat well to avoid cavities, it’s important to pay attention to the way their teeth are growing.


Signs Your Child Might Need Braces

Difficulty in eating, biting or chewing – If your child is a picky eater, it may not be due to the food. Perhaps she is experiencing a problem due to teeth that are not fitting together properly as she bites down. Your dentist can help you discover if this is the case.

Unusual timing in the loss of baby teeth – Baby teeth typically fall out between the ages of 6 and 12 or 13. If your child loses teeth much earlier or much later than this, or you notice any other troubling signs around the process of losing teeth, then contact your dentist for more information.

Mouth breathing – Sometimes poor teeth alignment can prevent a child from closing his mouth properly. This will cause him to breathe through his mouth instead of his nose, especially at night. If you see that your child is always breathing through his mouth, it might be a sign that braces are necessary to correct the problem.

Poorly positioned teeth – Do your child’s teeth appear crowded or misplaced? Are some of them hidden behind other teeth? If your child’s teeth don’t look neatly lined up in a row, then braces can help realign them. Do they have trouble meeting properly, or not meet at all? This is a problem that can be solved by straightening his teeth with braces.

Mouth or cheek biting – Is your child biting the roof of her mouth or the inside of her cheek? This is is a sign that her teeth are not properly aligned, and she could benefit from having them straightened with braces.

Does your child’s jaw make a clicking sound or shift suddenly? If he can’t open and close it smoothly, this may be a sign of misaligned teeth. Does he complain of chronic pain in his jaw or his head? This may also be part of a tooth problem that can be corrected through the use of braces. Your dentist can tell you if your child would benefit from this sort of treatment, or if this is part of a larger problem.

Is your child’s jaw or are her teeth out of proportion to the rest of her face? Does her jaw protrude or is it recessed in a way that interferes with her overall appearance? These may be conditions that can be well addressed with braces and other orthodontic procedures.

When to Get Braces

Your orthodontist can let you know the best time for your child to be fitted for braces. However, it’s typical to begin this sort of treatment between the ages of 9 and 14, when at least some permanent teeth are already in, and are still growing.

Before treatment with braces can begin, it’s essential to make sure that any other dental problems, such as decayed or broken teeth, missing teeth or gum disease are under control. The better overall health your child’s teeth are in before he or she gets braces, the better outcome you can expect.