Do you want to know if your child is going to need braces? This can be a tricky question to ask due to the sensitive nature of talking about teeth with your children.
However, if you broach the subject in a positive light and consider the following factors you can discover whether your child will need braces in the future and make plans to see the dentist. These factors include knowing about the oral health of other members of the family and checking for teeth abnormalities, neurological issues, and puckering of teeth.
Keep reading for our guide to looking out for those signs that your child will need to have braces during their teenage years.
1. Crooked or Crowded Teeth
Crooked or crowded teeth can affect your child’s appearance and overall oral health. When teeth are crowded or crooked, it can be challenging to clean them properly, leading to an increased risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and other dental problems. If you notice that your child’s teeth are crooked or crowded, it may be time to consult an orthodontist.
Orthodontists are dental professionals who specialize in diagnosing and treating misaligned teeth and jaws. They can examine your child’s teeth and recommend the best course of treatment, which may include braces or other orthodontic appliances.
2. Bite Problems
A bite problem, also known as malocclusion, occurs when the upper and lower teeth do not fit together correctly. This can lead to a range of issues, including difficulty chewing, speech problems, and even jaw pain.
Some common types of bite problems include the following:
Overbites happen when the upper teeth overlap the lower teeth, making it difficult for the jaw to close correctly. You may first notice this in children when they are young because their overbite will cause them to suck their thumb or make a certain facial expression.
As they get older, other signs of an overbite will become more apparent. If your child continues to speak with a lisp or if they have difficulty clearing their lips while speaking, these could signal an overbite. If the teeth are still growing, your child may also have trouble eating due to their misaligned jaw.
This is when the lower teeth are in front of the upper teeth and jaw when the mouth is closed. Early signs of an underbite in children to watch out for include an exaggerated overjet–where the upper front teeth are too far forward, a backward lower jaw, and mouth breathing.
If your child is exhibiting any of these traits, it might be time to visit orthodontics for teens to check if braces will be needed in the future.
Certain signs that parents should take close note of include teeth that are not properly aligned or the upper and lower teeth that do not meet properly when the mouth is closed. A common symptom of crossbite is a “step-off” on the biting surfaces of the upper and lower sets of teeth, creating a misalignment.
Additionally, while a child’s mouth grows and changes, it is important to keep an eye out for disruptions to the normal flow of a child’s lips, including the appearance of gaps in the teeth or cheeks that appear sunken.
If you notice that your child has difficulty biting or chewing, it may be a sign of a bite problem. An orthodontist can evaluate your child’s bite and recommend the appropriate treatment, which may include braces or other orthodontic appliances.
3. Early or Late Loss of Baby Teeth
The timing of your child’s baby teeth loss can also be an indicator of whether they will need braces in the future. Baby teeth typically start to fall out around age six and continue until around age 12. If your child loses their baby teeth earlier or later than this range, it may be a sign of dental issues that could require orthodontic treatment.
Early loss of baby teeth can lead to gaps in your child’s smile, which can cause other teeth to shift and become misaligned. Late loss of baby teeth can result in crowding and other alignment issues. If you notice that your child is losing their baby teeth outside the typical age range, it’s best to consult an orthodontist.
4. Mouth Breathing
Mouth breathing can be a sign of several issues, including allergies, asthma, and sleep apnea. It can also lead to dental problems, such as crooked teeth and an overbite. When your child breathes through their mouth, it can put pressure on their teeth and jaws, causing them to shift out of alignment.
Another sign is if you notice your child clenching their jaw or grinding their teeth when they aren’t feeling relaxed. If your child is constantly making facial expressions due to misaligned teeth, this can also be a sign that they need braces in the future.
If you notice that your child is breathing through their mouth regularly, it’s best to consult an orthodontist. They can evaluate your child’s airway and recommend the appropriate treatment, which may include braces or other orthodontic appliances.
5. Jaw Pain or Clicking
Jaw pain or clicking can be a sign of a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. The TMJ is the joint that connects the jawbone to the skull, and when it’s not functioning correctly, it can lead to pain, clicking, or popping sounds when your child opens or closes their mouth.
TMJ disorders can also cause bite problems and misaligned teeth. If your child is experiencing jaw pain or clicking, it’s best to consult an orthodontist. They can evaluate your child’s TMJ and recommend the proper treatment, which may include braces or other orthodontic appliances.
Know the Signs That Your Kids Need Braces Today
Researching the signs and symptoms of malocclusions can be key to preventative dental care. If your child demonstrates any of these signs, you should consider a consultation with an orthodontic specialist to see if they need braces and other orthodontic treatments are necessary.
Be proactive and contact your local orthodontist to discuss your child’s needs and for their straight teeth and smile last for a lifetime!
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