In many ways braces are like college in that many parents see them as an eventuality, an investment in their children’s future that is simply part of the growing-up process.
But not every child will need braces.
Some parents do actually get lucky in that department.
How can you tell if you’ll be one of those parents?
- Consult an orthodontist. We figured you had to see this one coming so we’re listing it first. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that a child’s first visit to the orthodontist happen in early elementary school. Kids still have their baby teeth when they’re 7, which makes it a good age to determine whether early intervention can eliminate the need for future orthodontics. For instance, orthodontists can guide the growth of young jaws, end harmful biting habits, coax adult teeth into their proper places and improve appearance, possibly making braces unnecessary. Or they might recommend a wait-and-see approach.
- Examine your child’s mouth. Are the teeth crowded up top? Crowded down below? Are there gaps in between them? Does your child have an obvious over- or underbite? Teeth that are crooked or turned in toward each other? Does their breath smell bad even though they’ve just brushed their teeth well? There are many iterations of “problem bites” or “problem teeth” and while visible issues might not always mean braces, they are a good indicator that treatment might be necessary. Another indicator is, as we noted, bad breath. Food could be getting stuck between teeth that are too close together, which means bacteria are having a field day.
- Ask your child. Have a sit-down. Is your child having trouble chewing food? Does he experience jaw pain from time to time? Is he not smiling or speaking in front of certain groups of people because of how his teeth look? Having an open conversation about braces with your child is important because it gives them some buy-in on orthodontic decisions, which means a better chance of compliance with future treatments.
- Listen to your child. Does she lisp or have other speech impediments that might be caused by out-of-order teeth or a misaligned jaw? Talk with her teachers or a speech pathologist to determine the origin of the issue. It’s possible orthodontics could help improve matters.
- Ask your child’s dentist. They should be able to guide you in this area.
The staff at Bluffton Orthodontics is happy to answer any question you might have about braces, timelines or cost. We also offer free consultations, which will help determine what work, if any, your child will need 843-815-2521.