Do you have a child? If so, it’s not too early to think about braces. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children should be seen by an orthodontist as soon as their first tooth comes in and no later than the age of seven. Why? Because by then, many problems with teeth and jaws can be spotted and corrected. So, what are some common signs that your child may need braces? Here are five.
1. Crowded Teeth
One of the most obvious signs that your child needs braces is crowded teeth. Orthodontists define crowding as when there simply isn’t enough room to fit your child’s adult teeth in their mouth. This causes them to grow abnormally, which may lead to improper bites and speech problems down the road.
2. Open Bite
Open bite is when there is a noticeable space between your child’s front teeth when they close their mouth. This usually occurs with the top incisors but may also affect the bottom ones. An open bite can cause speech problems and misaligned chewing, which over time could lead to permanent damage to your child’s teeth and jawbone.
3. A Gap in the Teeth
A gap in the teeth, also known as a diastema, is another common sign that your child may need braces. This occurs when there is more space between certain teeth than others. It often affects the front teeth, but it can also show up in the back ones. Gaps can cause aesthetic problems, and they can also potentially lead to tooth decay, as it becomes easier for food to become trapped in the affected area.
4. Overbite or Underbite
Overbite and underbite are both good signs that your child may need braces. These occur when your child’s upper teeth extend too far forward (overbite) or stick out too much (underbite). Both of these problems may lead to the improper wearing of the teeth, necessitating braces to correct it.
Crossbite is when the bottom teeth bite inside the top ones when your child closes their mouth. This usually results in improper chewing, causing food debris to get stuck in the back of the mouth and leading to decay and infections.
According to the American Association of Orthodontists, some 4 million people in the United States now wear braces. If your child displays any of the five signs mentioned above, it’s time to bring them for a consultation.