Early Signs a Child May Need Braces

Orthodontists often recommend that young patients begin their orthodontic treatment after they grow all of their permanent adult teeth. But how do you know if your child requires this type of treatment to straighten their teeth or jaw?

Certain behaviors may point to alignment concerns in a child’s mouth that may need braces or other orthodontic solutions to amend. An orthodontic consult will give you professional insight into your child’s smile. But before your visit, you can read on to discover three signs that could indicate your child may need orthodontics to align their smiles.

happy child smiling with braces

Crooked Appearance in Teeth

When your child loses their baby teeth and their adult teeth start to grow into place, you might notice they appear crooked, gapped, or overlapped. This can occur for many reasons, including genetic factors outside of anyone’s control.

Misaligned teeth might impact your child’s confidence in the appearance of their smile. But it might also make it harder to get their teeth clean during their usual oral hygiene routine.

This might mean plaque will linger on their teeth and lead to dental complications. Therefore, if you see that your child has crooked teeth, you should consult with an orthodontist to learn if orthodontics can improve their smile and oral health.

Poor Oral Habits

Children can develop habits that may be difficult to break and persist as they grow older. Sucking their thumb, chewing their lip, and biting their nails may seem unhygienic. But the actions can also lead to alignment issues in their jaw and teeth.

Constant chewing and biting may pull the top arch of teeth forward and create an overbite. These behaviors may also lead the teeth to shift so that they do not close properly when biting down. This malocclusion is called an open bite.

These dental issues may lead to difficulties in performing oral functions. Their orthodontist can amend these bite problems with braces and other treatments. But if you spot these habits in your child, you might know early on that they will need these orthodontic solutions.

Breathing Through the Mouth

Mouth-breathing may seem like an annoying habit. But it could be a sign that your child has a narrow oral palate. If the jaw is too narrow, it might feel crowded in the mouth to the point that the tongue cannot rest comfortably at the roof of the mouth. This can lead to unconscious mouth-breathing, especially while the young patient sleeps.

Breathing through the mouth rather than the nasal passage can lead to a dry sensation. Dry mouth allows bacteria to spread with ease across the teeth. This then puts the patient at a higher risk of oral infections.

Amending this jaw alignment concern with orthodontics can allow the patient to breathe easier through the nose rather than the mouth. This will lower the chances of dental problems like gum disease. If your child breathes through their mouth, jaw misalignment might be the cause, meaning they may need braces or a palate expander to resolve the issue.