It can be easy to be suspicious of orthodontists making a recommendation that your child needs braces. After all, their adorable little smile looks fine to you. And, certainly, people in some professions make less-than-scrupulous recommendations as, it seems, part of their profession. So how do you determine if your child really does need braces, or if you’re just falling prey to a greedy orthodontist looking to take you to the cleaners? Here are some common signs that the orthodontic practice at Shores Family Dentistry recommend looking out for:
- Your child has difficulty chewing or biting down
- Your child’s enamel is wearing down abnormally, such as all on one side of the tooth, instead of evenly on both sides
- Your child regularly bites their cheek or the roof of their mouth: this signifies a deep overbite
- Your child’s jaws and teeth are out of proportion to the rest of their face: either too big or too small
- Your child’s teeth show signs of crowding, misplaced, missing, blocked-out or misalignment
- You child’s teeth meet abnormally, or not at all — this can signify an overbite, underbite, crossbite (top teeth naturally rest inside bottom teeth), or openbite
- Your child has early, late, or irregular loss of their baby teeth
Most Orthodontic Problems Are Genetic
It’s important to note that if you or your spouse has had orthodontic issues in your lifetime, treated or untreated, your child probably will as well. The size and shape of your jaws and teeth are inherited from the parents, and if parents have overbites, underbites, crossbites, openbites, crowding or any other tooth alignment problems, they are likely to pass it onto their children.
This isn’t to say that kids can’t mess up perfectly fine teeth on their own. Thumb and finger sucking, mouth breathing, poor dental hygiene and poor nutrition can all turn what would be a lovely set of teeth into various problems with overbites, underbites and the like, as well as crowding and other spacing issues.
What If I Don’t Treat An Abnormal Bite or Other Orthodontic Issues with Braces?
Basically, not treating orthodontic issues can lead to a number of problems later in life, such as:
- Tooth loss
- Gum disease and periodontitis (inflammation of the tissues around the teeth, which cause numerous problems)
- Abnormal enamel wear
- Poor dental hygiene due to crowded or poorly aligned teeth, increasing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease
- Issues with speaking and eating, which may lead to behavioral as well as nutrition problems
Additionally, and this is important enough to mention: at Shores Family Dentistry we know that we live in a society which places a high emphasis on physical attractiveness and good looks. To set your child up for success, it’s important to consider doing everything possible to increase their chances of success, and this means helping them to be as attractive as possible. We may bemoan this fact of our society and it may someday change, but likely not within our children’s generation. When you are considering whether or not orthodontia is right for your child, don’t forget that what you are doing for them now is setting them up for adulthood: one of success, or one where success is going to be more difficult to achieve.
Part of that success also has to do with nutrition. It can be extremely painful to eat food with an overbite or crowded teeth. To give your child the best chances of food security throughout their lifetime in terms of being able to enjoy a wide variety of foods, braces may be key.
When Should My Child Get Braces
The recommended age for an initial visit with an orthodontist is no later than seven, even if they still have some baby teeth. Dental growth and development problems are best treated early, although for most children, it’s recommended to wait until most of their baby teeth have fallen out to get braces, between the ages of 10 and 14. At that time, your child is still growing, and bones and teeth are easily shifted. Some problems may be better off treated even earlier, and your orthodontist will be able to best advise you on this.
It’s important to remember that this process, which may take a few years and seem like “forever!” to your child, is all for the betterment of your child’s dental, and, overall health in the future. They might even come back and thank you in the long run when their smiles are sparkling and bright. If you have any questions about your child needing braces, please contact Shores Family Dentistry today.