First line Dental

How Can I Tell If My Child Needs Braces?

NOVEMBER 10, 2020

According to one estimate, more than 3.5 million children and teenagers begin orthodontic treatment each year. Most of them receive braces, which are designed to correct crooked teeth and create a more harmonious bite. Does your young one need braces for children? In this blog post, we will discuss some signs that indicate a visit to an orthodontist is in order.


Visible Dental Misalignment

Some types of dental misalignment are easy to spot. When your child smiles, do you notice that their teeth are crooked, that they protrude outward, that they overlap one another, or that there is extra space between them? Those are all signs that braces could be necessary.

You should also be on the lookout for subtler indications of misalignment or malocclusion (bite problems), including:

  • The top teeth overlap the bottom teeth or vice versa
  • The front teeth cannot easily touch one another
  • The teeth do not meet on either side

Jaw Pain

A misaligned bite can interfere with the way the TMJ (the jaw joint) functions, placing stress on both it and the surrounding muscles. If your child frequently complains of jaw pain or tends to avoid foods that take a lot of effort to chew, it is probable that they should see an orthodontist.

Speech Problems

The tongue and teeth work together to create a wide variety of sounds. If it is difficult for your child to enunciate sounds that are created when the tongue touches the teeth, the problem may be due to dental misalignment. Braces, along with therapy from a qualified speech professional, may help your child to achieve clearer, easier speech.

Snoring And/or Mouth Breathing

Orthodontic problems, such as a narrow jaw, can lead to breathing problems and interfere with airflow in the upper airway. Snoring and chronic mouth breathing often result. Braces may be able to help such issues to an extent. However, your child might also require additional orthodontic appliances to truly breathe easy.

When Should Your Child See An Orthodontist?

Most orthodontists say that children should have their first orthodontic appointment around the time their permanent teeth start coming in. This usually occurs around 6 or 7 years of age. This first checkup gives the orthodontist the opportunity to look for even the subtlest signs that traditional braces may be necessary.

Your family dentist will also keep an eye on your child’s dental alignment and connect you with a trustworthy local orthodontist if they believe it is necessary.

Do you suspect that your child needs braces?  Taking them to see an orthodontist soon could have lifelong benefits for their oral health!

About the Author

Dr. Ledjo Palo is the on-staff orthodontist at First Line Dental. He uses his extensive training to provide braces and other teeth straightening treatments for patients of all ages. He has undergone extensive orthodontic treatment in the past, so he is able to empathize with those under his care. If you have questions about braces for children, he would be happy to chat with you. Contact our practice at 860-736-3405.

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