Does my child need orthodontic treatment?
Many children will ultimately need to get dental braces to reposition their teeth, but savvy parents can monitor the child for signs that indicate that braces may be warranted.
Some indications are fairly obvious, such as noticeable crowding of the teeth. Premature loss of teeth can create the opportunity for misalignment of the teeth, as can baby teeth that stay in place too long. Your dentist can give you guidance on the typical timing for a child’s various baby teeth to come out.
Visible malocclusions, or issues with the bite, may also suggest that dental braces would be beneficial. Keep an eye out for problems like underbites, overbites or open bites. A child who has trouble chewing or has issues with a jaw that shifts or makes noises may also be a good candidate for orthodontic evaluation.
Certain childhood habits, such as extended thumb-sucking or pacifier use, may also make it more likely that your child will need braces, as can some facial trauma at a young age. If these factors apply, you may want to closely watch your child for signs that braces might be appropriate.
If your child is established with a particular dental practice and keeps appointments at regular intervals, it will give the dentist ample opportunity to identify more subtle problems that might escape the parent’s notice. This is another compelling reason to schedule your child for routine dental check-ups.
Children don’t necessarily have to be approaching their teen years to explore orthodontic treatment, either. Even if no significant problems are evident and a number of baby teeth are still present, children can be evaluated for early orthodontic interventions as young as age 6. These early treatments can prevent the need for more involved interventions when the child is older or reduce the amount of time that the child must spend in braces as a teen.
Parents who have any concerns that a child may need braces should bring their observations to a dentist’s attention. Contact Erickson Dental at 972-717-0077 to ask any questions that you may have or to schedule an evaluation for your child.