Think Your Child Needs Braces? Here's What You Need to Know
Dental braces are often recommended to correct the alignment of a child's teeth. However, braces aren't merely for attaining a perfectly straight smile. They can support the crown of a tooth, relieve jaw pain, improve speech development, enhance the ability to chew and improve oral hygiene.
Signs to Look Out For
Here are a few general signs that indicate your child may require braces:
- Difficulty chewing
- Crowded or misplaced teeth
- Jaw clicking or pain
- Early loss of baby teeth
5 Common Reasons Children Require Braces
Braces are required when the upper and lower teeth don't fit together properly, which is known as dental malocclusion. Here are 5 common causes of dental malocclusion:
- Some children get into the habit of pressing their tongue firmly against their lips, which can cause teeth to grow outwards.
- A child can have too many or too few teeth. Overcrowding can prevent teeth from developing fully and can lead to an uneven bite. In other cases, some of the child's teeth may not develop and they may be left with large spaces that make it difficult to chew and pronounce some sounds.
- If a child has an especially small mouth they may not have enough room for all of their permanent teeth. This can result in overcrowding, pain and gum disease.
- Thumb sucking can negatively impact the development of facial muscles and create an overbite. This can interfere with speech development and cause a child to feel self-conscious.
- A misaligned jaw can result in malocclusion and cause damage to teeth and the supporting bone structure. Teeth grinding is common when there is misalignment and this can wear down tooth enamel.
Visiting the Orthodontist
When you take your child to an orthodontist, they will carry out a thorough examination and develop a treatment plan based on their findings. They may take x-rays to determine how your child's teeth are growing, carry out a facial examination to detect muscular weakness or joint dysfunction, and take impressions of your child's teeth to gain a good understanding of their bite.
If your child needs braces they will be fitted at the next appointment, which gives you time to start preparing them for wearing braces. Try to talk to them about the benefits of braces and make them aware that it may take time to get used to how they feel. Braces can seem tight at first and speech may be a little slurred until your child adjusts.
Braces consist of brackets and arch wires. Modern brackets are small and your child may be able to pick the colour, which can help them to feel involved in the process. The arch wires are used to move the teeth into the required position over a period of time and will be adjusted at follow-up appointments to ensure they remain effective.
As you might expect, prompt treatment is recommended to prevent muscular trauma from malocclusion and cavities from overcrowding. If you have any concerns, schedule an appointment for your child with an orthodontist, such as Dr. Anthony Pistolese.