A child’s faces constantly changes and grows. That being the case, you may not always know what is normal and what isn’t when it comes to her smile. You may not know if she needs braces or not. Fortunately, there are some simple ways that you can determine if you need to start budgeting for braces. Here are three signs to look for that will tell you if your child should wear braces.
1. The Teeth Look Crooked
Crooked teeth are often the first and most obvious sign that your child needs braces. While some crooked smiles look endearing, they can cause big issues later. More cavities tend to develop: Crooked teeth make it harder to reach certain areas of the mouth.
There’s an emotional downside to this as well. Many kids feel embarrassed by a crooked smile. Their self-esteem can suffer. They may also tend to smile less or at a minimum, they will try to hide their teeth with their hands when they laugh or smile. Additionally, later on in life, a mouthful of crooked teeth could affect professional opportunities as well.
Some signs of crooked teeth can include a protruding eye tooth, a gap in the front teeth, or teeth that look “pinched” together.
2. Problems With Their Bite
Called malocclusions, bite problems not only affect how the teeth can look, they also affect how a person’s mouth closes (or doesn’t.) Some common bite problems include crossbites, overbites, and underbites. Each type of jaw misalignment affects the teeth slightly differently.
“With the crossbite, some of the teeth in the top jaw go behind the bottom jaw when the mouth closes,” said Orthoworld, LLC. This can make the mouth difficult to close at times. It might even make the bottom jaw shift a bit to accommodate the teeth affected by the crossbite.
The underbite causes all of the top teeth to be positioned behind the teeth of the of the bottom jaw. The chin may protrude slightly.
Finally, an overbite causes the top teeth to extend too far past the bottom jaw. Some of this is normal, but it can become pronounced, affecting the bit.
A bad bite makes it difficult to chew and can cause mouth and face pain if left untreated.
3. Your Child’s Dentist Advises It
Sometimes, your child’s dentist will see what you can’t yet see. This dental professional regularly takes X-rays of the teeth. This type of image shows not only how teeth line up but it also reveals teeth that haven’t grown in yet. For example, while your child’s baby teeth may look fine, an X-ray (plus your dentist’s trained eye) will show where the teeth are likely to come in at.
X-rays may also reveal “extra” teeth that can cause crowding. Some of these teeth, like the wisdom teeth, are expected. Others are truly additional teeth. If your child’s mouth is already looking crooked, these teeth will exaggerate the issue.
Final Thoughts on Your Child’s Braces
Deciding if your child should wear braces can be a big decision. Braces can run anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000 typically. It also takes a commitment to see your child through the process. After all, she could be wearing braces for several years. That’s a lot of dental visits and special foods.
That said, getting your child’s teeth fixed can be a huge blessing. A straight smile not only looks pretty, but it is easier to clean and less likely to cause mouth pain. If you’ve seen any of the above signs in your child’s mouth, it might be time to visit with your child’s dentist about getting braces.