How do I know when it’s time for my kid to get braces?

Braces and orthodontic treatment are common for children – almost every class includes a kid with braces, from elementary to high school! But how do you know if your child will need braces – or if they’re just losing baby teeth and giving you a snaggle-toothed grin? There are some telltale signs that your child may need braces or orthodontic treatment – read on to learn more!

Regular Checkups Identify Problems Early

Your child’s regular dental checkups are great opportunities to identify alignment and crowding issues that normally lead to braces. Your pediatric dentist knows when a child is just experiencing some growth discomfort from losing baby teeth and growing in adult teeth and when there is a deeper issue that may require orthodontic care. Keeping your child on schedule for regular checkups is key to helping them develop a healthy smile. As your child grows, consult your dentist about potential problem areas and/or questions about teeth and jaw issues that may emerge.

By age seven, your child’s dentist should recommend a checkup with an orthodontist. Every child needs to see an orthodontist by that age to make sure that their teeth and jaws are experiencing healthy and natural growth and to identify any issues that may need intervention.

Telltale Signs Your Kid May Need Braces

There are some telltale signs that your kid may need braces – and you don’t need a medical professional to notice them. If you see your child exhibiting any of these behaviors or experiencing any of these problems, ask your dentist if it’s time to consider braces and orthodontic care:

  • Early, late, or irregular loss of baby teeth
  • Difficulty in chewing or biting
  • Frequent or consistent mouth breathing
  • Thumb or finger sucking
  • Crowded, misplaced, or blocked-out teeth
  • Jaws that shift, make sounds, protrude, or are recessed
  • Biting the cheek or roof of the mouth
  • Teeth that meet abnormally or not at all
  • Jaws and teeth that are out of proportion to the rest of the face

If you notice any of these problems with your child, you should schedule an appointment with an orthodontist even if the child is younger than seven years old. Early detection and intervention can lead to better, faster, and more comfortable solutions rather than waiting until further down the road to conduct an intervention.

How Old Are Kids When They Normally Get Braces?

No child is too old or too young to visit an orthodontist. Most children get braces between the ages of 9 and 14; in this age range, children have at least some permanent teeth and are still growing. This makes it easier for an orthodontist to correct issues as the child grows. Many issues that lead to braces – like overcrowding, too much space between teeth, extra or missing teeth, jaw growth problems, and protruding upper teeth – are inherited and will be evident early in a child’s development. Other problems can develop over time if children suck on their thumbs or fingers, frequently breathe through their mouth, or have poor hygiene or nutritional habits. In either case, an orthodontist can identify any issues with a child’s growth and orthodontic health and correct them – with braces or other treatment. It’s never too late for a child – or adult – to visit an orthodontist. If you or your child have never been to an orthodontist, schedule an appointment for a checkup and to learn if you may need braces or other orthodontic treatment to improve your overall health!

Where Should I Go to Learn About Braces and Orthodontics?

Our team at Hodge Orthodontics has multiple convenient locations and an expert team of orthodontic professionals to serve you and your family. With the latest in treatment technology and a history of award-winning care, our team is ready to advise you on the best options for correcting teeth and jaw issues. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and consultation!

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