For many parents, making sure their children have a healthy smile is very important. One way you can ensure a stunning smile is to have your children get braces to fix crooked or misaligned teeth. While only your dentist or orthodontist can know for sure if your children need braces, there are several signs you can look for to help you make that prediction.
Crowded Baby Teeth
When your children are getting their baby teeth in, it’s perfectly normal and healthy for them to have wide spaces between the teeth. Baby teeth are much smaller than adult teeth, so these spaces provide the necessary room for the adult teeth to start growing in. However, if the baby teeth are crowded or overlap, it’s reasonable to assume the adult teeth will not have enough room to grow in.
Habits that your children pick up when they’re young, such as pacifier use, thumb-sucking, and tongue-thrusting, can all lead to dental issues. One such issue, flaring of the teeth, occurs when the upper teeth push forward over the lower teeth. Another issue is an open bite, which is when the upper row of teeth fail to overlap the lower row of teeth. Both of these conditions require braces and an orthodontist’s help to fix.
The Shape of Your Child’s Jaw
If your child’s jaw appears out of proportion or too small, his or her upper and lower teeth could become misaligned in the future. Without braces, your child could develop conditions such as a crossbite, where one or more of the upper teeth bite on the inside of the lower teeth, or an overbite, where the upper teeth come down too far over the lower teeth. Either of these conditions can cause the teeth to wear down prematurely or lead to incorrect chewing patterns.
Losing Baby Teeth Too Early
Losing baby teeth too soon, whether from decay, an accident, or any other reason, can cause issues for the other teeth. If a baby tooth falls out too early and the adult tooth does not come in soon enough, that space in the mouth can be lost, which will cause overcrowding. On the other hand, if the baby teeth don’t come out soon enough, they can cause a block in the natural cycle of losing teeth and lead to extra teeth in the mouth.
Did you or your spouse need braces when you were young? If so, chances are good your children will need braces, as well. Just like your children inherit the color of their eyes and hair from you, if you had crooked teeth or a misaligned bite when you were growing up, your children might end up with the same problem.
If you notice any of these signs in your children, contact our office at (435) 579-3800 to see if they will need braces. Sometimes, if you see an orthodontist early enough, it might be possible for your children to receive other treatments to reduce the need for braces.
A version of this article was previously published at Redwood Orthodontics.