Does My Child Need Braces?
The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that every child has an initial visit to the pediatric orthodontist by the age of seven. At this age, most children have enough permanent teeth in place for an evaluation and the orthodontist can spot any signs that braces may be needed. Early detection of jaw and mouth issues can lead to shorter treatment times and fewer interventions. If you are not sure whether your child should be seen, one or more of these signs should trigger a visit to your orthodontist.
4 Signs your Child Needs Braces
Your Child Has Crowded Teeth
If your child's teeth look overcrowded or like there are too many teeth trying to squeeze into his jaw, he may need braces. Crowding is more than a cosmetic issue—the American Dental Association identifies crowding as a condition that can impact your child's bite and ability to chew food.
There Are Spacing and Gaps in Teeth
The opposite of crowding, gaps or open spaces between teeth as your child's permanent teeth grow in should trigger a call to the orthodontist. When your child loses a baby tooth there will be a little gap, but that space should be filled once the permanent teeth come in.
Teeth Grow in the Wrong Place
A tooth that is not aligned with the teeth around it or that shows up in the wrong place could require braces to straighten out. Double rows of teeth or teeth that lean forward or backward could be a sign that your child needs braces.
Your Dentist Recommends a Consultation
Even if your child's smile shows off straight, healthy teeth, your dentist may recommend a pediatric orthodontist visit. Some problems with the jaw, bite, and tooth alignment may only be visible to a dental professional. Treating these problems early could improve your child's health and reduce the amount of time he'll need to wear braces.
Baby Teeth Are Lost Very Early or Very Late
If your child loses his baby teeth far earlier than he should or those teeth linger too long, it could impact his bite and jaw development. While a slightly delayed loss is not always a problem, if you are concerned you should contact the pediatric orthodontist for an evaluation.
Most pediatric orthodontists offer complimentary consultations that allow you to find out exactly what is going on with your child's teeth and jaw. Learning more about the situations that could require braces treatment allows you to get the best possible outcome for your child and ensures that he enjoys a lifetime of good dental health and a great smile.