How to Tell If My Child Needs Braces

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, and a great excuse to make sure your child’s oral hygiene needs are being met. You probably take your children to the dentist every six months, but as they get older and their baby teeth are replaced by permanent ones, you may find yourself wondering if it’s time to get braces and what the ideal age is to seek a consultation with an orthodontist. While there is no hard and fast ideal age for braces, you can be on the lookout for some signs that your child needs braces, including:

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth
  • Backwards or twisted teeth, or teeth that don’t touch
  • Delay in eruption of teeth
  • Difficulty in breathing or swallowing
  • Thumb sucking
  • Crowded or blocked-out teeth
  • Jaws and teeth out of proportion to the rest of the face
  • Mouth breathing
  • Jaws that shift, protrude, make noises, or are recessed
  • Biting the cheek or roof of the mouth

Most children should have a checkup with an orthodontist by age 7 or 8, and your regular dentist can help you decide if your child could benefit from an earlier or later visit. Age 8 is typically the time when the front 4 adult teeth have erupted and is an ideal time to check to make sure the adult canines and premolars will have sufficient space to emerge normally. Children usually get orthodontic care between the ages of 8 -11 if they are in need of some interceptive orthodontics, which can help to address the underlying skeletal/jaw issues early, and help to direct their growth in a more positive manner. Full orthodontic treatment with braces or invisalign typically begins between 11 and 14, or at the point when the majority of their adult teeth have erupted. Again, there is no single ideal age for braces—it simply depends on the child’s dental development and their individual needs.

Keep in mind that traditional braces and expanders are not the only option for your child. If your child is nervous about the potential pain and aesthetics of traditional braces, you can look into getting Invisalign for your child or teen. Invisalign for phase 1 can correct not only crooked teeth but also arch width, overbites, crossbites and underbites in children ages 7 to 11, preparing them for phase 2 treatment when they have all of their permanent teeth in their teen or adult years.

Have you noticed any signs your child needs braces? Are you curious about what braces or invisalign can do for your child? Schedule a consultation today!

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