Caring for your children’s teeth is a lot easier than you might think. Starting from a young age, you should be instilling important dental hygiene habits in them and teaching them about the importance of keeping their mouths healthy. However, many parents often wonder when the best time is to start orthodontic treatments. How do you know if your kids need braces?
There’s no universal answer to this question because every situation is different. Some kids might need braces, but others might not. Nowadays, the dental industry has made so many advancements that braces are no longer the only option for fixing cosmetic dental issues. But they are still a viable choice for a lot of parents.
If you think your child might need braces, there are a few signs and symptoms that you should be aware of to help you determine whether your kids’ teeth are in good health. Keep reading to learn more.
Signs Your Child Might Need Braces
Regular visits to the dentist will make it easier to catch any dental or orthodontic issues that may arise much sooner. There are a few things you can look out for and pay attention to at home as well. Let your dentist know if your child starts complaining about the following symptoms:
If your child starts experiencing difficulty, discomfort, or pain while chewing then this is a major sign that something is wrong. It could be misalignment of the teeth or jaw and this is definitely something your dentist should examine. Malocclusion, which is when the teeth or jaw bones are misaligned, is fairly common and most cases of it are minor and don’t require immediate treatment. Severe cases, however, can cause great discomfort so they should be treated immediately.
Constantly Biting Down on Their Cheeks
Most dental issues in children are minor, but if your child is biting down on their cheeks due to overcrowded teeth or misalignment, then this issue should be addressed immediately. Over time, biting down hard on the same soft tissue can cause scarring or open wounds and this leads to infection.
They Have an Underbite or Overbite
An underbite is when the bottom front teeth protrude so far out that they overlap the top teeth. An overbite is the exact opposite and occurs when the top teeth overlap the bottom teeth so extensively that your child is unable to fully close their mouths. The urgency with which underbites and overbites must be treated depends largely on how prominent the condition is and how much they affect your child’s ability to chew their food.
They Have Overcrowded Teeth
Overcrowded teeth are an especially common issue in younger children. Since the sizes of their mouths have yet to catch up with the number of baby teeth they have, it’s very easy for the teeth to get pushed together, making flossing and brushing more difficult. While this isn’t a major cause for concern for younger children who still have their baby teeth, it does make it a lot harder to remove food particles and plaque between the teeth. Failing to clean between the teeth properly can lead to a host of other dental and orthodontic issues such as periodontitis and gingivitis to name a few.
What’s a Good Age for Kids to Get Braces?
There’s no specific age by which children need to get braces or start seeing an orthodontist. Orthodontists recommend that you start bringing your kids in to see them as soon as their permanent teeth start coming in, which is typically around age 6 or 7. Some children might not get their permanent adult teeth until age 10 or even their preteens.
However, if your child has overcrowded or crooked baby teeth that will eventually fall out it may mean the jaw is too small and since the permanent teeth are larger than the baby teeth it may mean they will also be crowded. Contrary to popular belief, the shape of baby teeth has no bearing on the development of adult teeth. By the time your child’s adult teeth come, their mouths may have expanded significantly.
A Few Things to Consider Before Getting Braces for Your Kids
If you’re not completely sure whether or not braces will benefit your children or at least improve their dental issues, then there are a few things you should take into consideration.
Other Orthodontic Treatment Options
Traditional braces consist of metal brackets and coloured or clear elastic bands that are bound together to straighten teeth. But dentistry has come a long way in the past few decades and there are more options available now than ever before. Braces can be customized from allowing your child to choose from fun colours for their elastic bands to more discreet options like clear, ceramic, or white braces. Lingual braces, which go behind the teeth, are also an option, but these are usually reserved for special cases. Invisalign and retainers are also a viable option.
How Long They’ll Need the Braces
Typically, most kids only need braces for anywhere from six months up to two years. The length of time depends on the amount of dental care and realignment needed. It is also dependent on how diligent the patient is in wearing whatever appliance is being used.
How to Properly Care for Braces
Braces require an additional level of dental care because it’s a lot easier for food to get stuck in them. Kids with braces should be careful while flossing and brushing their teeth and they should also avoid foods like apples, chewing gum, and carrots to prevent damage. Brushing and flossing between meals is highly recommended to prevent extensive plaque buildup. Often, they need to come in more frequently for a professional cleaning to help during this time.
Does Your Child Need Braces? We Can Help!
Princeview Dental Group offers dental care for adults and children alike. Whether you’re looking to get braces for yourself or your child, we can help. For extensive treatments, we can also refer you to expert orthodontists close by, so you don’t have to travel very far. Contact us today to book an appointment!