When Are Braces Necessary?
As a child starts to lose his or her teeth and new ones appear, parents often wonder if their kid will need braces. Certain factors affect whether your child will need them, including his or her age and teeth position. While a dentist at Ponte Vedra Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics will thoroughly inspect your kid’s teeth and perform imaging to determine if your child needs braces, it’s helpful to have a general idea beforehand.
Age Plays a Role
Most of the time, we’ll recommend a child receive braces between the ages of 9 and 14. During this age bracket, they’ve lost a majority, if not all, of their baby teeth. Not to mention, they may not have started puberty yet, and the ones who did are only partially through it. This is vital since the jaw and teeth will change throughout puberty, and it becomes more difficult to correct teeth misalignments. However, if your child doesn’t get braces during this time, they can still get them once they are older.
Usually we recommend our patients have an orthodontist appointment with us once they turn seven. This is a recommendation of the American Association of Orthodontists. Around this age, your child has enough permanent teeth for our pediatric dentist to be able to detect any problems that could require braces.
Sometimes, you may be able to tell by looking at your child’s teeth if braces are necessary, but certain issues aren’t as visually apparent. Therefore, a dentist from our practice will have to examine the teeth to know for sure.
The types of issues your child has with his or her teeth’s alignment or spacing also factor into the equation. One example of when braces might be necessary is if your child has an underbite. This happens when the lower teeth in the front of his or her mouth are in front of the upper set. An overbite is another reason, and this consists of your kid’s upper teeth being in front of their lower ones significantly. Your child could also have a crossbite, which occurs when the upper teeth, particularly the ones in the back, are inside the lower set.
Our dentist may recommend braces if your child has crowded teeth. Overcrowding makes it more difficult for your kid to brush and floss, thereby increasing his or her risk of decay.
We can correct gaps in your child’s teeth through braces, and it’s also possible to fix your child’s smile using braces if he or she has missing or extra teeth.
If your child sucked his or her finger or thumb or used a pacifier for a prolonged time, we can provide braces to correct any issues.
Not all signs a child needs braces are visible. Your child may experience other problems due to his or her teeth that braces could help. For instance, your child may experience trouble when he or she brushes or flosses. Your child may frequently bite or cut his or her tongue when eating. Pay attention to how your child enunciates certain words. Sometimes, an issue with pronunciation has to do with the position of your child’s tongue in relation to his or her teeth.
Your little one may complain his or her mouth hurts after eating. Either you or your kid may notice a clicking sound coming from his or her jaw when he or she chews or first wakes up.
All parents want what’s best for their child in general and when it comes to dental care. Braces can optimize your little one’s oral health and give him or her more confidence if he or she has an imperfect smile. Although we have general recommendations for when children should get braces, we will thoroughly assess your child’s teeth and use imaging to know for certain if they’re needed and when.
Book an appointment with our pediatric dentist to discuss if braces are right for your little one by calling 904-373-5120 or using our online form.