Top Signs Your Child May Need Early Orthodontic Care

November 13, 2018
Carly A. Moran, DDS, MS

Straightening your children’s teeth means more than getting them a great looking smile. Properly aligned teeth and jaws can also sustain their overall health. But how do you know if your child needs early orthodontic care?

Top Signs Your Child May Need Early Orthodontic Care

Crooked or crowded teeth — what we call malocclusions — tend to be the primary indicator of eventual orthodontic treatment, such as braces or Invisalign. Children oftentimes inherit these types of issues from previous generations; however, orthodontic problems can also come from bad habits and behaviors over time.

The following guide can help you determine whether or not you need to schedule an initial consultation with an orthodontist.


Preparing Your Child for the First Orthodontist Appointment


Four Indicators of Early Orthodontic Care

1. Crowded Teeth: If you can see insufficient room for your child’s new teeth to come in, that’s a good sign that he or she might need braces. If left untreated, crowded teeth can cause permanent teeth to get stuck in the roof of the mouth or jaw, and may require surgery down the road. If treated early, getting braces can make enough space for permanent teeth to come in correctly and prevent invasive treatment in the future.

2. Crossbite: Your child experiences crossbite if his or her jaw shifts to one side or another when opening or closing the mouth, or if any of your child’s top teeth sit behind or to the inside of their bottom teeth. This issue, which creates an improper fit of the upper and lower teeth, can lead to worn and chipped teeth, pain in the jaw, and asymmetric growth of the jaws. If left untreated, a crossbite can cause irreversible problems with the jaw becoming permanently crooked. However, if caught early enough, crossbites can be easily fixed with orthodontic care.

3. Thumb Sucking: Many babies and toddlers suck their thumbs and pacifiers, but these habits can lead to orthodontic problems as your kids reach five-years-old. If left untreated, your child may experience a very narrow upper jaw, protruded front teeth, and an “open bite” where the upper front teeth don’t touch the lower teeth.

4. Protruding Teeth: Also known as “buck teeth,” protruding teeth can cause health problems, safety concerns and self-esteem issues. Protruding teeth can lead to painful biting of the roof of the mouth, possible gum recession and even tooth damage. If treated early, our orthodontists can use the child’s natural growth to fix the bite with braces. However, if you wait too long, it could require more extensive treatment included extraction of permanent teeth or jaw surgery.

Additional Reasons for Early Orthodontic Care

  • Loss of baby teeth too early or too late (children typically start to lose baby teeth around the age of five)
  • Trouble biting or chewing
  • Mouth breathing
  • Speech impediments
  • Biting of the cheek
  • Too much space between teeth

Causes of Orthodontic Issues in Young Children

It’s very common for parents to be concerned about what caused your child’s misaligned teeth. Some of the most common causes we see include:

  • Loss of baby teeth coming too early or too late
  • Certain thumb-sucking habits
  • Inherited problems, such as a bad bite
  • Injuries to the mouth
  • Jaw growth problems

If you’re unsure whether or not your child needs early orthodontic care, we strongly suggest bringing them in for a free consultation. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends bringing your child in for a consultation by the age of seven. The earlier we can identify issues and start treatment, the faster we can achieve the desired results.

Get to know our team, and schedule your complimentary consultation here. We look forward to meeting you!

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