How to Know If Your Child Needs Braces

As a parent, you know the importance of making sure your children have healthy teeth and good dental hygiene habits. But what if your child’s teeth are not as straight or symmetrical as they could be? 

If that’s the case, consider an orthodontic treatment like braces. Knowing when is the right time to take action isn’t always easy, but understanding what to look for in your child’s smile can help you decide whether orthodontic treatment is appropriate. So if you’re wondering whether it’s time for braces for your child, keep reading!


6 Signs to Know if Your Child Needs Braces

When it comes to your child’s dental health, understanding when they may need braces is an important step to ensure they have great oral hygiene. But even if you’re not a dentist and don’t know the ins-and-outs of orthodontics, there are some signs that can help you figure out whether your child may need braces.

  1. Crowded Teeth

If there is insufficient room in the mouth, teeth that emerge may twist, protrude, retract, or overlap. Early loss of baby teeth due to dental decay or trauma might result in crowded adult teeth. If crowded teeth negatively impact a child’s self esteem or create discomfort, damage, or chewing difficulties, the youngster may be sent to an orthodontist for treatment. Orthodontics is concerned with the development of the jaws, face, teeth, and bite. Some athletes even find ways in protecting the teeth during sports.

  1. Thumb Sucking

Babies sucking their thumbs are completely adorable. Even toddlers may self-soothe and fall asleep with their thumb in their mouth, eliminating the need for a pacifier. Unfortunately, if you cannot wean your child off of this habit or if they do not outgrow it within a few years, it may have negative effects on their jaw growth and development, requiring braces or other orthodontic procedures.

  1. Early or Late Loss of Baby Teeth

This is a typical sign of orthodontic issues. Baby teeth are typically expected to erupt between the ages of one and three. Then, at age 6, they begin loosening and falling out. By the time your child is between the ages of 12 and 13, they should have lost all of their baby teeth and have all of their adult teeth.

However, if your child’s baby teeth fall out significantly faster than expected or if they linger in the mouth even though they’re intended to fall out naturally, this might suggest oral development concerns that may require braces and orthodontic treatment.

  1. Gaps Between the Teeth

After the loss of baby teeth, your child may develop diastema, sometimes known as spaces between their permanent teeth. In this situation, the gap is transitory and will likely be filled once permanent teeth erupt. In rare instances, these spaces may indicate that a youngster needs child braces. This is particularly true if the gaps result from mismatched teeth and jaw sizes. Occasionally, teeth are too tiny for the jaw, resulting in all those empty gaps.

If you are concerned about these spaces, you should consult an orthodontist. Thus, the specialist can evaluate the cause of the gaps and whether or not braces are the optimal treatment.

  1. Mouth breathing

Children who breathe via their lips throughout the day or night will have their mouths open most of the time. This can influence their facial appearance and tooth development. Your child may grow a longer face and narrower jaws if their tongue cannot rest on the roof of their mouth. This may necessitate an evaluation by an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) expert to rule out problems with the tonsils, adenoids, and airway. The ENT doctor may also suggest orthodontic treatment for jaw issues.

  1. Speech Difficulties

The position of your child’s jaw and teeth significantly impacts how they talk.

If you notice that your child’s speech is slurred, it may be due to a lack of space in their mouth. The orthodontist will perform the treatment to expand the lower jaw, allowing for greater room and the easier emergence of adult teeth. Once the majority of your child’s adult teeth have erupted, they will receive braces to complete their therapy and enable them to talk effectively.

S and R are often the most difficult letters to say, but that does not imply they are the only ones. When a kid has trouble pronouncing, it is frequently due to a poor bite. Through braces and other kinds of orthodontic therapy, the jaw and teeth of your child will be properly aligned, allowing them to speak correctly.

When is it too young for braces?

A smile makeover can happen anytime. 

It can be hard to know when the best time is for such an important decision as whether braces are necessary for your child. The truth is, there’s no such thing as being too young for braces! It all depends on your kiddo, and it’s worth talking to an orthodontist about the timing-related questions you may have. 

While experts suggest that children should visit an orthodontist by age 7, this doesn’t automatically mean that braces are called for at this point. 

Most kids don’t need any corrective appliance until their teenage years. However, early intervention or prevention treatments may be recommended for some children earlier than others. In these cases, initial treatment like Phase I treatment can begin around age 8 or 9 all the way up to age 10-11, with more outpatient treatments and full comprehensive orthodontic care beginning anytime between ages 11 and 14, depending on the urgency of your particular situation. 

Get in touch with a dentist or orthodontist in your area to learn more. 

Determining whether or not your child needs braces is a tricky process that is best left to the professionals. If your kid might benefit from orthodontic treatment, don’t hesitate to book an appointment with a pediatric dentist in Burke, VA. Junior Smiles of Stafford is always happy to answer any questions you may have about braces and provide treatments tailored specifically for kids. Give them a call today to learn more!