How to Tell If Your Child Needs Braces
Q: So many children have braces. How can I tell if my child may need them soon?
A: If you observe something abnormal about your child’s teeth, you should seek advice from your child’s dentist or pediatrician about whether to see an orthodontist.
Here are some signs that a child is likely to benefit from seeing an orthodontist:
Early, late, or irregular loss of baby teeth
Difficulty in chewing or biting
Crowding, misplaced, or blocked-out teeth
Jaws that shift or make sounds
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 face1
Q: What causes the need for braces?
A: Some orthodontic problems are genetic. Others develop over time due to thumb- or finger-sucking, mouth breathing, dental disease, accidents, or poor nutrition.1
Q: What are the possible benefits of braces for my child?
A: Any problem classified as a “bad bite” may be minimized with the proper orthodontic treatment, including:2
Q: At what age should I take my child to see an orthodontist?
A: Some children benefit from an orthodontic evaluation as young as age 5 or 6. Treatment at this early age is unusual, but some preventive measures may be useful. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends a first visit to the orthodontist no later than age 7.1
Q: What is the best age to be fitted with braces?
A: The best age varies from patient to patient. Orthodontic treatment most commonly begins between ages 8 and 14. Kids in this age range have at least some permanent teeth and are still growing.3
When treatment is neglected, dental problems may worsen over time and children, especially in their teen years, may suffer emotional problems associated with low self-esteem.2
1 “Learn - A Beautiful Smile For Everyone” American Association of Orthodontists. www.braces.org/learn/index.cfm Accessed 2010.
2 “Braces Align Crooked Teeth and Boost Self-Esteem.” Academy of General Dentistry. www.agd.org/public/newsroom/pressreleases/Default.asp?PubID=45&IssID=413&ArtID=1632 Accessed 2010.
3 “Braces and Orthodontics: FAQ.” American Dental Association. www.ada.org/2598.aspx?currentTab=2 Accessed 2010.