Early Warning Signs That Your Child May Need Braces

Early Warning Signs That Your Child May Need BracesAt an early age, parents will be able to detect signs that can help them determine if their children need braces. The ideal age for fitting braces is between 9 and 14. During this time, children have lost most or all of their baby teeth, but their permanent teeth are still growing. A parent should be able to tell from a much earlier age if they can expect their children to need braces. This is helpful for parents to plan and save in advance.

Compiled by the American Association of Orthodontists, here is a helpful list of warning signs that may indicate your child will need braces in the future.

  1. Early or Late Loss of Baby Teeth

Typically, a child should start losing their baby teeth around the age of 6. The last of a child’s baby teeth will fall out around the age of 12. If you notice your child’s teeth falling out when they are much younger than six or much older, you may want to consult a dentist. 

  1. Mouth Breathing

Often this is a sign of crowded space in the mouth, which can affect the nasal passage. This is often fixed by a palate extension.

  1. Teeth Meet In Abnormal Way

One of the major reasons people get braces is that their teeth do not align properly. If you notice early on that your child’s teeth are crowding or aligned incorrectly, prepare yourself and your child for braces.

  1. Thumb Sucking

Though many children naturally suck their thumb because it soothes them, if it is done for too long it can harm their teeth. Thumb sucking can cause the upper front teeth to be pushed out, resulting in an open bite, or cause the lower jaw to develop abnormally. At an early age, thumb sucking may be nothing to worry about, but don’t let your child age too much with a thumb in their mouth.

  1. Protruding Jaw

Often you can tell if a child will need braces from the positioning of their jaw. If it shifts oddly, protrudes, recedes, or even makes sounds, you may be witnessing a larger issue.

  1. Crowded, Misplaced, or Blocked-Out Teeth

Any signs of teeth not aligning correctly, including blocked out, misplaced, or crowded teeth, is an almost definite sign that your child will need braces.

  1. Speech Difficulty

If your child seems to have trouble saying certain words, or has difficulty speaking in full sentences, it may be a result of their jaw and teeth. An unaligned teeth and jaw can make it difficult for a child to pronounce words fully.

  1. Biting the Inside of the Mouth

If you notice your child is often biting the cheeks or roof of their mouth, either by accident or on purpose, it may be because of a misalignment of their teeth and jaw. While you child may become used to the act, it should be addressed quickly before it causes serious gum issues.

  1. Protruding Teeth

If teeth stick out from the mouth, or are angled forward, they will need to be realigned and straightened with braces.

  1. Difficulty Chewing or Biting

If you child seems to have a hard time finishing a meal or noticeably chews in an awkward way, it could be because their jaws are not aligned properly, making it hard for their bottom and top teeth to bite down.

  1. Facial Imbalance or Asymmetry

Often you can notice the asymmetry of a jaw through the imbalance of a child’s face.

  1. Grinding or Clenching Teeth

Sometimes hard clenching or the sound of grinding occurs when the jaw is too closely structured in the mouth, causing crowding.
If you notice one or more of these signs in your children, it is important to bring them to a dentist as soon as possible to make sure that any issues can be fixed early on. Often, the longer a child waits to get braces, the longer it takes for the teeth to fully realign.
If you have questions about the early signs of a child needing braces, or believe your child may need braces, contact Water Tower Dental. We can help determine the best action for your child and put them on a course for a bright and straight smile.