How to Make Your Child Smile Again

Orthodontics brings on the smiles

Signs You Should Take Your Child for an Orthodontic Checkup

No child wants to be the kid with buck teeth, especially not in the age of selfies. And while orthodontics is not primarily a self-esteem treatment, it can make a big difference. Let’s take a look at what kids’ orthodontics is all about, signs your child may benefit from orthodontic care, and the benefits of starting treatment early. 

What all is orthodontics used for?

Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that deals with correcting misaligned teeth and jaws. Oftentimes, orthodontics involves the use of devices, such as braces, to close gaps between teeth, correct bite problems, and align lips and teeth properly. 

While it’s true that orthodontic treatment can be effective at any age, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that kids receive their first orthodontics assessment around the age of seven. This early evaluation can help catch any potential problems early, when treatment has a higher chance of success the first time around.

Signs Your Child Might Need Orthodontic Care

While most parents are aware of the need for orthodontics in kids with obvious bite or alignment issues, some orthodontic issues are a little more subtle than buck teeth, and a few may not even involve teeth at all. Keep an eye out for the following signs and consult with your pediatric dentist if any of these symptoms appear.

1. Mouth Breathing, Snoring, and Teeth Grinding

Snoring, teeth grinding, and mouth breathing is not normal in kids, and without treatment, these habits can damage the structure of the jaw and the alignment of the teeth. Usually, kids who snore or grind their teeth either have a narrow arch, a bad bite, or crowding, which can all be fixed with orthodontic treatment.

2. Thumbsucking

It may have been cute for your little one to suck their thumb when they were two, but once their permanent teeth start to come in, these habits can cause dental issues to crop up down the line. Either their teeth will get pushed too far from their proper positions or their jaw will start to grow in the wrong direction, which can wreak havoc on your child’s bite.

3. Early or Late Loss of Baby Teeth

Milk (baby) teeth normally start to fall out at age six or seven, and this process continues until your little one is around 12. If the loss of baby teeth happens sooner or permanent teeth don’t start to grow within this timeframe, it could be a sign of a developing orthodontic problem.

4. Difficulty Eating or Speaking

Orthodontic problems can sometimes make it difficult for your child to chew or speak comfortably. If you notice this in your child, it may be a good idea to have an orthodontics evaluation done to rule out oral health problems as a cause.

5. Unusual Bite

Take a quick look at the way your child’s upper and lower jaw come together. When your little one’s bottom teeth stick out or their upper teeth protrude, it’s normally a sign of a bad bite, a very common dental problem that’s easily corrected with orthodontic treatment.

6. Crooked Teeth

Perhaps the most glaring sign of the need for orthodontic treatment is crooked teeth. Extensive slanting, tilting, or crowding of teeth are often quite noticeable, so if you see this in your child’s smile, don’t hesitate to reach out to your pediatric dentist.

Benefits of Starting Kids’ Orthodontic Treatment Early

A pediatrician who practices orthodontics for young children can help your child correct bad habits like thumbsucking before they affect their oral health. At this age, it will also be easier for your child’s dentist to guide the growth of your little one’s teeth and jaws while they are still growing and developing. 

Additionally, receiving orthodontic care early instead of when your child is fully grown may help lower costs and make the treatment process more comfortable. Wearing orthodontic appliances at a young age also reduces the risk of injury and trauma to your child’s teeth and ensures there’s enough space for missing teeth that have not yet come in, preventing tooth impaction. 

Early use of braces may help minimize or eliminate speech problems, bruxism, mouth breathing, and other issues associated with misaligned teeth or jaws. And as an added bonus, your child will get to enjoy a healthy, self-esteem-boosting smile for longer.

Give your child a head start to a happy smile.

Must Love Kids has helped countless kids obtain beautiful functional smiles for many years. Schedule a consultation with one of our expert pediatric dentists to guide your family as you prepare your children for orthodontic treatment. During the appointment, we will determine if your child is a good candidate for orthodontic treatment and recommend the best treatment option that fits your aesthetic goals while being highly sensitive to your budget. Let’s give your child a head start to a happy smile today!