Over half of American children receive orthodontic treatment, which shows how common fixing their smiles is. 

Orthodontic treatment is crucial for restoring confidence in your child and giving them a winning smile that will last their lifetime. But it can be difficult to know the telltale signs, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the world of dentistry. Perhaps it’s that curiosity that brought you here; you want to know if your kid needs braces and are searching for guidance on the topic.  

Hit the nail on the head? No worries; we’ve got you! Here are seven signs your child must get braces ASAP.  

1. Crowded Teeth 

One of the most popular signs your child or you need braces is if the teeth are crowded. Kids may have too many teeth, so there isn’t any more room when their adult teeth come through. As a result, their teeth can’t grow properly and there’s a risk that they will have a crooked smile.

Aside from not looking good, crooked teeth make it harder to clean and can often develop into a lisp. You may also notice your child slurs words when they speak or struggle to say certain ones. 

Luckily, this can be fixed by the best orthodontic treatment like braces as the metal wires put pressure on the teeth and pull them into the right position.   

2. Difficulty Chewing 

Another reason to Google “child orthodontist near me” is if your little one has difficulty chewing. This is often a result of misaligned teeth and needs to be fixed quickly. Ask your child whether it’s painful when they chew or bite and if they say yes, it’s time to book an appointment with your kid’s local orthodontist. 

3. Gaps Between Teeth 

Your child may also need kids braces if there are gaps in-between their teeth. If your little one hasn’t got their permanent teeth in yet, this often isn’t an issue. But if your child has adult teeth and there are still gaps, it’s wise to seek dental care like braces. 

If left alone, the gaps can accumulate plaque, which can harden into tartar. When this is in your child’s mouth, it increases the risk of them suffering from gingivitis and inflamed gums. Instead, consult your kid’s dentist to figure out the next steps.  

4. Lost Baby Teeth Too Early or Late 

Although it’s less known, the age at which your child loses their baby teeth determines whether they need braces. Many children accidentally lose it early if they’ve suffered an injury or had tooth decay at a young age. Because of this, your child may have a range of dental complications that can only be fixed with braces.

On the flip side, losing their teeth too late can cause alignment issues when their adult teeth grow in. Again, braces are essential for fixing this.  

5. Under or Overbite

Another sign your little one needs braces is if they have an abnormal bite.

Many kids, for instance, have an underbite where their lower teeth extend further than the top set. As a result, it can cause a bulldog appearance. Or, your child may have an overbite where the upper teeth protrude too far out, which can also be treated with braces.

Your child may also have a crossbite, which is where the teeth have a lateral misalignment. This means their teeth are either closer to their cheek or tongue than the rest. Unlike the other two types of malocclusions, this can impact your child’s ability to chew and even cause cheek or tongue biting.

Parents should also be mindful of open bites when the teeth are aligned, but there is space between the upper and lower jaw. The problem with this is that it results in improper chewing and a less-than-perfect smile. Luckily, open bites often correct themselves in younger children, but older ones will need braces to rectify them.

Note, that abnormal bites require early treatment, so discuss options with an orthodontist when your child is six and above.  

6. Mouth Breathing

If your child breathes through their mouth, it’s time to contact the dentist.

Mouth breathing can cause an array of oral problems, such as reducing the amount of saliva in the mouth. Although this sounds harmless, a dry mouth can increase cavities and gum disease as there’s nothing to wash out the plaque. Also, breathing through your mouth can cause digestive issues and bad breath; otherwise known as halitosis.  

Further, your child may need braces if they often suck their thumb, especially if their adult teeth have grown in. Sucking a thumb or a pacifier can impact how the teeth will grow, which often results in misaligned teeth. This is because the thumb pushes against the top teeth and causes an overbite. 

If you’ve noticed this starting to happen, find an orthodontist who has experience with children’s braces. 

7. Lack of Confidence 

Everyone should be confident flashing their smile, especially in their formative years. If your child is embarrassed by their teeth and is self-conscious, such as covering their mouth when they smile, then consider children’s braces. Although the treatment can take around one year to work, they will be forever grateful and confident in their daily lives.   

Signs Your Child Should Get Braces

Hopefully, you now know the top signs that your child should get braces. 

There are many obvious signs that your little one needs orthodontic treatment, such as having crowded teeth or if they’re finding it difficult to chew. You should also look out for abnormal bites and if your child is embarrassed about showing their smile to the world. Good luck! 

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By SARAH