Key Signs That Your Child May Need Braces

Key Signs That Your Child May Need Braces

Improper bite, also known as malocclusion, is a condition that affects roughly one out of every five people in this country. Though there are some cases of malocclusion that do not really require orthodontic intervention, there are others in which the resulting pain is extremely difficult to bear.

The good news is that braces worn when young have the ability to solve many such problems. As such, it is wise for parents to remain vigilant about the signs that this type of treatment may be beneficial, or perhaps even necessary.

Crooked Teeth

If you have noticed that your child’s teeth overlap or are in a twisted position, this could well be a sign that braces are in order. These issues often arise when the child’s mouth is simply not wide enough to accommodate the teeth, therefore causing them to move into misalignment.

Past Thumb-Suckers

While there are countless children who get into the habit of sucking their thumbs, when the practice continues past age three or four, lasting damage to the teeth can occur. Thumb sucking is known to boost the chances that malocclusions such as crossbites and overbites will develop, scenarios that routinely lead to a need for braces.

Gapped Teeth

Another concern related to thumb sucking is that of gapped teeth, otherwise known as diastema. The repeated sucking inside the mouth has the potential to draw a child’s teeth either forward or backward, causing a space to emerge in between.

Gaps can also result when a child’s teeth are not large enough for the jaw bone, and growth occurs in an area of excessive gum space. Fortunately, braces have the ability to bring the teeth together and permanently close the gaps.


An underbite is present when a child’s lower teeth protrude over the upper ones. This is another common result of thumb sucking, and it also be exacerbated by extended pacifier and bottle usage in childhood.

Underbites are known to make chewing more difficult and can place excessive strain on the teeth and jaw. As with many other such issues, a visit to a pediatric dentist at an early age can spot such troubles and get a plan of treatment underway.

Mouth Breathing

There are many reasons why a child might breathe through their mouth, ranging from tonsil enlargement, blocked nasal passages, unusual jaw size, and more. However, when kids breathe in this manner, they can develop imbalanced facial muscles which in turn produce unwanted shifting of the teeth.

Breathing through the mouth can also cause the natural position of the tongue to change. This can cause the lower teeth to push outward, and the resulting malocclusion can necessitate braces as well.

Frequent Complaints

When teeth are misaligned or there are issues with the jaw, pain can be present a fair amount of the time. When the forces applied by a child’s teeth differ, there can often be severe discomfort. If parents begin to hear a lot of complaints in this realm, it could be that a visit to the orthodontist for a braces consultation is indeed on the cards.

Unusual Jaw Noises

When a child complains about odd noises coming from their mouth or jaw, make sure to see their dentist as soon as possible. This is because unusual clicking or other noises, especially when accompanied by pain, can be a hallmark of temporomandibular joint disorder, often known as TMD for short. Luckily, braces can assist in the correcion of jaw concerns as well as halt the progression of TMD.

Biting the Cheek

Unconcsious or habitual cheek biting is another sign for which parents need to watch, because it can indicate a jaw alignment problem. When the jaws are not correctly in line, lower or upper teeth can bite too near the sides of the mouth. The result can be infection and injury.

Clearly, a number of the signals suggesting that braces may be needed can and do cause pain and discomfort in children. As such, it is recommended that an orthodontist be seen by age seven so that early intervention can be initiated where needed. For more information or to schedule a visit, call today!

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