Braces for children. How do you know if they are necessary?
If you’re like most parents, your child’s health and well-being is a big priority. You instinctively want the best for them in every area of their life. So you take proactive actions such as scheduling regular medical and dental check-ups, protecting them from harm’s way, and doing everything you can to ensure they develop into strong, healthy adults.
Lethbridge dentist Dr. Lachman: “One difficult decision many parents face is whether to invest in orthodontic treatment for their child.”
Braces for children can be expensive, and the reasons why they are required is often unclear. If you are facing this quandary, we hope this information will help you understand how to make the best decision for your child.
What’s the advantage of investing in braces for children?
Braces for children are about more than straightening teeth for aesthetic purposes. If your child has:
- crooked teeth
- overlapping teeth
- overcrowded teeth
- an overbite
- an underbite
- a narrow dental arch
What causes orthodontic problems in kids?
Tooth and jaw problems can be caused by:
- tooth decay
- losing baby teeth early
- bad oral habits such as tongue thrusting or thumb sucking
What signs and symptoms should parents watch for?
While your child’s dentist will be on the lookout for problems with jaw or tooth development, there are a few signs you can keep an eye out for at home:
A small mouth
If your child’s mouth seems too small, or their teeth are jammed together, there could be a growth issue that needs addressing. Crowded teeth often indicate a problem with normal facial growth and development.
A scalopped tongue
If your child’s tongue is tooth-marked along each side, it could be an indication that the jaw bones are not growing normally. When a normal sized tongue is pushed against the teeth by a jaw that’s too narrow for it, it becomes indented by the subtle pressure. A scalloped tongue will not normally correct on its own, and may worsen as the child grows.
Start the process early
If your child’s facial bones are not developing properly, the best time to correct the problem is while they are still growing. By age twelve, typically, 90% of a child’s facial growth is complete.
Some schools of thought advise waiting until all the adult teeth have come in before considering orthodontic treatment. The trouble with this tactic is the majority of adult teeth typically do not come in until the age of twelve or thirteen. This means you’ve missed the majority of the growth phase. While teeth can be straightened at any age, correcting facial developmental problems after the majority of growth has occurred can be more difficult.
To ensure you don’t miss the metaphorical boat when it comes to your child’s oral and facial development, we recommend that, if you see any of the developmental problems noted above, you make an appointment with Dr. Lachman.
Starting the process early doesn’t mean your child will need braces. It just allows Dr. Lachman the opportunity to monitor your child’s tooth, jaw and facial growth and intervene, if required, at a time when the problem is likely the most easily corrected.
Be part of the prediction process
As noted, an indicator of your child’s need for orthodontic treatment is if they are growing correctly. Our braces predictor or cosmetic line finder is a useful tool to help predict if your child’s face is developing normally. Simply follow the instructions included. If your child’s facial growth appears normal with the small blue finder, and you are happy with the appearance of your child’s teeth, braces may not be required. Be sure to discuss your findings, good or bad, with Dr. Lachman.
Learn more about braces for children
Making the best decision regarding your child’s health is often a daunting one. If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s oral health or development, please contact Lethbridge dentist Dr. Lachman.