when your child may need braces

Your child may need braces for various reasons. This could be due to overlapping, crooked or overcrowded teeth. Sometimes, such conditions could compromise the child’s confidence. When you have misaligned teeth, you can become very conscious of them. However, the question is, when does your child actually need braces? Here are some of the most common signs.

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9 signs that tell your child needs braces

Unevenly spaced teeth

Having unevenly spaced teeth is more common than you might expect. In dental practice, dentists come across patients with diastema (space between the two front teeth) every day. This problem may start during childhood and continue into adulthood. That said, if you notice that your child has unevenly spaced teeth, not necessarily only between the front teeth, consult with your dentist as to whether your child requires braces.

Jaw misalignment

Another pointer that your child needs braces is jaw misalignment. When a child has this problem, the lower and upper jaw have a flawed contact. In the long run, this misalignment may damage their teeth.

In other cases, children with this condition tend to bite their tongue. Fortunately, if you take the child to your dentist early, the problem can be addressed early and without complications.

If they lose baby teeth too early

One of the roles of baby teeth is to preserve ample space for the development of adult teeth. Therefore, if they need to be extracted early, for example, due to recurrent infections from decay or trauma, the spaces left may not be enough for the permanent teeth. This leaves the likelihood of adult teeth becoming overcrowded.

The good news that this issue can be resolved in a good time when you take the child to an orthodontist. In most cases, the dentist will use braces and other forms of treatment to achieve the objective.

Trouble chewing or biting

Your child should not only eat healthily but should also be able to eat comfortably. But if they have misaligned teeth, chewing properly can be difficult. If you notice that your child is biting the tongue or struggling to chew, their teeth could be crooked or their bite is off.

Early orthodontic intervention is necessary, especially if the problem is persistent. And the chances are that your dentist will recommend braces as a form of treatment.

Problems with speech

Did you know dental issues could interfere with your child’s speech? Well, if you have realized that your child is struggling to pronounce certain words, book an appointment with an orthodontist. This is because crooked teeth are known to cause this problem and you might want to rule it out before you look for other solutions. Moreover, children with a misaligned bite can also have a similar problem.

Protruding teeth

Protruding teeth and other types of malocclusions are treatable with the help of braces. Take your child to your orthodontist if you notice that their teeth are protruding. You can rest assured that the dentist knows the best braces to correct this issue. If the front teeth protrude very much, they are more prone to fracturing if the child falls and hits their face or teeth.

Crooked teeth

Normally, your child’s milk teeth are supposed to fall out before the permanent teeth come in. If that doesn’t happen, the permanent teeth lack enough space to grow freely. As a result, they erupt and become crooked. Although this is not the only cause of crooked teeth, any child with this kind of condition needs treatment and retained baby teeth will need to be extracted if the permanent ones have come through. Afterwards, a pediatric dentist will turn to braces to rectify crooked teeth and give your child a perfect smile.

Overcrowded teeth

There are many causes of overcrowded teeth. Sometimes, when teeth are growing, they may form extremely close to each other leading to overcrowding. Besides that, your child may have small jaws and the teeth appear as too many or as too large to fit on the available space. In other unique cases, overcrowding is an inherited problem. The bottom line is that when this problem is detected, it can be corrected using braces.

In case of these bite problems

braces for children - savina dental clinics malta and gozo

Crossbite

The bottom teeth and the top teeth are supposed to work harmoniously to achieve the correct bite. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes one or a few of the lower teeth are positioned in front or further out of the upper ones rather than vice versa. This is known as a crossbite.

Open bite

Statistics show that an open bite affects about 0.6% of the US population. This means that it is a rare problem, but if your child has it, it needs to be corrected. If your child’s upper and lower front teeth do not meet on closing or a large gap remains, then they have an open bite.

Overbite

Your child’s upper jaw can overlap the lower jaw, and that is not a good thing. It is known as an overbite and it can lead to further dental problems. Consulting a dentist is the best thing you can do for your child when you suspect they have an overbite.

Underbite

Your child’s lower teeth can extend outward more than the upper teeth; this condition is known as an underbite. Patients who have it cannot chew properly. Since this is a class III malocclusion, it is important to bring it to your dentist’s attention as it is one of the more difficult malocclusions to correct. Guidance from the orthodontist is important so that it is corrected in a timely manner, not too early and not too late.

Deep bite

A deep bite occurs when your child’s upper teeth tend to come down over the lower teeth excessively, covering most or all of the tooth height. This can result in trauma to the enamel of the lower teeth as well as to the gums around the back of the upper teeth or the palate, leading to problems later on in life. Seek treatment if this is your child’s current predicament and with the necessary treatment such as braces, your child’s bite will be corrected.

How young is too young for children’s braces?

According to the American Association of Orthodontics, you should take your child to an orthodontist as early as seven. But if you notice any issues with their dental development as early as five or six years, do not hesitate. This allows the dentist to evaluate the current problems as well as predict future dental issues.

The best time to start braces is when your child has lost most of the primary teeth. That is from 8 years onwards.

What types of braces are recommended for a child?

There are several types of braces that your child could benefit from. These include ceramic braces that come clear, tooth-coloured brackets, tooth-coloured wires, and so on. The others are lingual braces, self-litigating braces, and Invisalign. Metal braces are the most common devices among children, but dentists recommend the best on a case by case basis, also taking into consideration the patient’s wishes.

Are there complications that can occur with braces?

Complications with braces are rare, but they can happen. Some patients have allergic reactions due to the metal or ceramics used to make braces. A common problem that your child may experience is soft tissue irritation or ulcers due to the lips and tongue rubbing against the appliance. This only lasts a few days until the skin becomes used to the brace rubbing against it. Your orthodontist will prescribe orthodontic wax to cover the brackets and help with the discomfort if needed. Gingivitis and decay can also occur if oral hygiene is poor and the child is not brushing meticulously.

Observing your child’s dental development could save them from the distress that is brought about by misaligned teeth. Moreover, these problems are easy to address when the child is young and more difficult to remedy in adults.

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Savina Clinic – Dental & Implantology Centres are friendly, state-of-the-art practices in Malta and Gozo dedicated to comprehensive quality dental care. Savina Dental is an innovative dental practice in Malta and prides itself on the high-quality customer service, low waiting room times, attention to detail and the advanced dental technology at their disposal.

Joseph Xuereb
Principal Dental Surgeon & Owner of Savina Dental Clinics, Dr Joseph Xuereb BChD (Hons), MFGDP(UK), MGDS RCS(Eng), FFGDP RCS(UK), FICD is a general dental practitioner with a special interest in Implant and Restorative Dentistry. Dr Joseph & the teams' full biographical information can be found here.