Did you know that one in five Americans have a malocclusion or improper bite?
And while some cases don’t warrant intervention, many can be severe enough to cause pain.
Fortunately, children’s braces can protect your little one from these oral problems. Pediatric orthodontics can correct misaligned bites, which can raise children’s risks for cavities.
The question now is, how do you tell that it’s time for your little one to get orthodontic treatment? What are the signs you should look out for?
We’ll answer all these questions in this post, so be sure to keep reading!
1. Crooked Teeth
Does your child have twisting or overlapping teeth? If so, take this as a sign that your little one needs braces for kids.
Your child’s crooked teeth may be due to the mouth being too small or narrow for the teeth. This smaller size can crowd the teeth, forcing them to shift and go out of their proper places.
2. A History of Thumb Sucking
Thumb sucking is very common among children, with up to 8 in 10 of them having this habit. Most will stop by the time they get to the age of between two and four. However, an estimated 12% of four-year-old kids retain the habit.
Unfortunately, thumb sucking has shown to cause permanent dental damage. It can increase the risk of malocclusion, including overbites and crossbites. When this happens, the teeth will become misaligned.
If your little one had a history of thumb sucking, it’s best to bring them to a pediatric orthodontist ASAP. This way, the orthodontist can check for early signs of malocclusions.
3. Gaps Between the Teeth
Thumb sucking can also result in your little one having diastema or “gapped teeth”. The sucking motion can pull the front teeth inward or forward. As the teeth shift, they can leave spaces between each other.
Diastema can also result from teeth that are too small for the jaw bone. Since the jaw bone is too big, the teeth can grow out with too much space between them.
Children’s braces can help close these gaps and bring the teeth together.
4. The Upper Teeth Overlap the Lower Teeth Too Much
This is the “overbite” that we mentioned earlier. A severe overbite makes the upper teeth sit too far forward from the lower teeth.
As with gapped teeth, this can also happen because of your little one’s thumb-sucking habits. It can also be due to your child’s upper jaw bone being bigger than the lower jaw bone.
5. The Lower Teeth Cover the Upper Teeth
Also known as an underbite, this is when the lower teeth overlap the upper teeth. Thumb sucking is again another possible reason. Prolonged use of a bottle or pacifier can also contribute to this type of malocclusion.
An underbite can make it harder for your child to chew. This can then put more strain in their jaw muscles and teeth, leading to discomfort or pain. Before the pain gets any worse, bring your child to a pediatric dentist and orthodontist.
6. Breathing through the Mouth
Breathing through the mouth often results from a blocked nasal airway. This can be a complete or partial obstruction of the nose. Allergies, enlarged tonsils, and abnormal jaw size and shape are common culprits.
The problem is, mouth breathing in kids can cause an imbalance in their facial muscles. Over time, this can also alter the shape and appearance of their faces. This can also result in the movement of the teeth, and ultimately, malocclusion.
For instance, mouth breathing can change the tongue’s natural position. Instead of resting on the roof of the mouth, it has to drop lower to make way for air. When this happens, the tongue can push out the lower teeth, making it jut out more than the upper teeth.
Malocclusion can also be the reason why your little one breathes through the mouth. The incorrect position of the teeth can also affect the position of the tongue. This can then contribute to breathing difficulties.
Either way, if your child is a mouth-breather, it’s best to see an orthodontist as soon as possible. Kids’ braces will fix not only their malocclusion but also their mouth breathing.
7. Your Child Often Complains about Mouth Pain
Misaligned teeth or problems with the jaw can cause mouth pain or discomfort. This can result from the unequal distribution of the mouth’s biting forces. Some of the teeth may bite down more forcefully, which can then cause discomfort or pain.
If your child has been complaining about mouth pain, it’s a sign that your little one needs braces. Especially if the pain affects them while eating or talking.
8. Jaws that Make Odd Noises
Has your little one complained about clicking sounds from the mouth? If so, then be sure to schedule an appointment with a child’s dentist right away. These sounds, especially if there’s pain, can signal temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD).
Braces can help correct problems with the jaw and prevent TMDs.
9. Cheek Biting
Regular unintentional cheek biting can also be a sign of improper jaw alignment. Because the jaws aren’t aligned, the upper or lower teeth can bite down too near one side of the mouth. This can lead to mouth injuries and infection.
Children’s Braces: A Great Investment for Your Little One’s Future Oral Health
As you can see, many of these signs that point out the need for children’s braces can be painful for your kid. That’s why you should schedule their first orthodontist visit by the age of seven. This way, the orthodontist can determine right away if your child needs braces.
Ready to invest in making your child’s oral health better? Then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us! We’ll be happy to answer all your questions about pediatric orthodontics.