Is your child at that age where most (if not all) of their permanent teeth have developed, and you’re starting to wonder, “does my child need braces?”
If your child is age 7 or older, we suggest scheduling their complimentary orthodontic exam. During your child’s exam, our highly-skilled orthodontists (Dr. Insoft and Dr. Hurst) are able to detect soon-to-be problematic orthodontic conditions before they progress.
In the meantime, we’ve compiled a list of some common signs that may indicate a need for early orthodontic treatment. Check these out!
1. Early or late loss of baby teeth
Children who lose their baby teeth too early or too late may need braces. When baby teeth fall out prematurely, permanent teeth that are already present may migrate into the empty spaces. This can cause teeth to overlap or crowd each other, and can cause impacted (blocked out) teeth. Likewise, baby teeth that fall out too late can also lead to alignment and crowding issues.
2. Prolonged thumb or finger sucking
Thumb-sucking places outward pressure on the front teeth and can cause them to protrude, and in some cases, flare/space forward. Typically, children grow out of thumbsucking by the time they’re 3 or 4 years old.
However, if children continue to suck their thumb while their permanent teeth grow in, it might lead to your child needing braces.
“The risk of dental problems is related to how often, how long and how intensely your child sucks on his or her thumb. Although some experts recommend addressing sucking habits before age 3, the American Academy of Pediatrics says treatment is usually limited to children who continue thumb sucking after turning 5” (Mayo Clinic).
3. Crowded or impacted teeth
When permanent teeth grow in and crowd the other teeth, this can cause discomfort in your child’s mouth and make it difficult or painful to chew.
If your child tells you that their mouth is sore or uncomfortable, this is a good sign that your child needs braces.
When the teeth grow in crowded or overlapping, these are likely indicators that your child will need corrective orthodontic treatment. Correcting these issues while your child’s teeth and jaw bones are still developing can make treatment more efficient and more comfortable.
4. Difficulty chewing and biting
Misaligned teeth and jaw bones can lead to biting and chewing difficulties, as the teeth don’t meet properly and can’t bite down evenly. The chewing surfaces of the teeth are intended to meet evenly, allowing for thorough chewing and easy digestion.
Children with misalignments sometimes need to shift their jaws to chew correctly, or they report sore teeth and gums when chewing food. This is a major indicator that orthodontic treatment is necessary!
5. Lack of confidence when smiling
The childhood years are fundamental for building self-esteem. If your child doesn’t love his or her smile, this can reflect in their self-confidence. Children shouldn’t have to hide their smile when they’re laughing or when they’re in the spotlight. They should have a brilliant, contagious smile that makes them (and you) proud.
Still have questions about how to know if you need braces?
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions! We love to hear from you. We’re here to guide you through your treatment process, from your very first visit, to your last appointment.