How can you tell if your kid needs braces? For that matter, does any child actually need braces?
When’s the right time to take them to the orthodontist? How do you know you can trust your orthodontist?
To sum it all up, the real question is, “Are you worried about your child’s oral health?”
If this sounds like your inner monologue lately, you can relax now. We’re about to answer all these questions and more.
Below is our guide on how to tell if your kid needs braces. But that’s not all. We also cover why braces are important for certain children and how you can find an orthodontist you can trust.
Read this guide to put all your pediatric orthodontic fears to rest.
Are Braces Really That Important?
Before anything else, the most important question to answer is “Does any child really need braces?”
Like all things in the field of dental health, whether it’s necessary is kind of a trick question. Technically, you don’t even need to have teeth. You could get dentures.
But poor oral health is an open floodgate to poor health overall. According to one study, the average treatment cost for various common conditions was up to 73.7% higher for patients who had untreated gum disease.
Failure to take care of any part of your body causes costly and potentially dangerous complications later on. Here are some problems that could result from untreated teeth alignment issues.
Overcrowded or crooked teeth are something many kids are self-conscious about. Children going through puberty and middle-school peer-pressure have enough to feel insecure about without this added stress.
Gum Disease and Tooth Decay
Besides body-image, misalignment can cause certain areas of your teeth to be hard to reach and, therefore, hard to clean. Inadequate cleaning of these areas makes your child more prone to gum disease and tooth decay. These problems could lead to a costly, and painful, root canal later on.
Other problems caused by overcrowded teeth may require tooth extraction or other surgery to correct. For example, overcrowded teeth could lead to infection. Or the teeth may be so overcrowded that they block the arrival of other teeth.
If the tooth does require extraction from these or other issues, it will cost you around $400-$800 per tooth.
An uneven bite can cause Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ). It causes added strain on the jaw every time you chew. And it may cause you to grind your teeth while you sleep.
Sufferers of this well-known disorder experience painful popping in their jaw as well as jaw pain throughout the day.
In addition to jaw pain, teeth grinding during sleep can wear down the enamel of your teeth. This makes them more prone to cavities and oversensitivity.
Is Your Child is Seven Years Old?
How old is your child? Age 7 is the ideal age to bring children into their first orthodontist appointment.
By age 7, your child’s adult teeth have progressed enough for an orthodontist to predict where they’re headed. Then, the orthodontist can use your child’s x-rays to anticipate any future alignment problems.
Early Detection Opens More Options
Even better, detecting these problems this early on makes them much easier to correct. Or, at least, it opens up more treatment options.
At this stage of early detection, some orthodontists may suggest an interceptive approach. This two-phase approach begins when the child still has mostly baby teeth. Braces or other dental appliances are used to guide the alignment of adult teeth while they’re still coming in.
The second phase involves straightening the adult teeth once they come in, most likely using braces. Some say this approach shortens the overall treatment time for aligning teeth.
Other orthodontists argue the interceptive approach increases both the overall treatment time ant the cost. These orthodontists would suggest you wait until all your child’s adult teeth have come in and then apply braces.
Either way, getting your child to the orthodontist early on opens up your options. Then, you and your orthodontist can better choose the treatment that’s right for your child.
Ask Your Dentist First
Finding an orthodontist you can trust is a little scary for some parents. You may be thinking, “Of course an orthodontist will say my kid needs braces. He can’t wait to bill me for thousands of dollars, whether the procedure is necessary or not!”
We’d love to tell you that isn’t the case. But, unfortunately, sometimes it is. Just like a car mechanic may swindle those without automotive knowledge, some orthodontists are only after your money.
However, you’d also be correct in assuming that most people who go to dental college aren’t Saturday morning cartoon villains. That is, they really do care about the oral health of your child.
So how do you weed out the swindlers and find an honest orthodontist? The easiest way is by getting a professional opinion you already do trust.
During your child’s next dental cleaning, ask your dentist’s opinion on getting braces for your child. He or she may have some comforting insights that will make any necessary decisions a little easier to make. Your dentist will probably also refer you to one or two orthodontists that they would trust.
Other Signs Your Kid Needs Braces
Here are a few other signs your kid may need braces that you can spot on your own.
The most obvious signs are visual. Snaggleteeth or far-protruding/receded jaw are an easy-to-spot example.
If baby teeth are falling out early, or are far past due for loss and still remain, this usually indicates a problem with normal teeth progression. Baby teeth coming out in atypical order also indicates a problem. You should definitely have such a child checked out by a dentist or orthodontist right away.
Another sign is problems with chewing or biting. For example, the child might mention that their teeth don’t bite down all the way on one side. Or they may bite their cheek excessively.
An uneven bite can also result in mouth breathing, jaw popping or clicking, and thumb-sucking.
How to Tell If Your Kid Needs Braces
Have you noticed any of these that your kid needs braces? If so, talk to your dentist or orthodontist at your earliest convenience.
Don’t have an orthodontist? We can help.
Click here to schedule your consultation with our trustworthy orthodontists in Orange Hills and Middleburg Heights, OH. Or click the bottom-right corner of this page to live-chat with us right now!