Essenmacher Family Dental

10 early warning signs your child needs an orthodontist

Child with braces at the orthodontist

A healthy, beautiful smile is vital to your child’s overall oral health and well-being. It can also be a source of pride and confidence as they grow older. As parents, we are responsible for ensuring that their smile stays healthy throughout their childhood. If you notice any signs that your child might need orthodontic care, bring them in for a consultation with our orthodontist.

What Does an Orthodontist Do?

An orthodontist is a dentist specializing in diagnosing, preventing, treating, and correcting malocclusions (bad bites). Malocclusion refers to problems with tooth alignment or position. These include crooked teeth, gaps between teeth, overbites, underbites, deep bites, open bites, crowding, and spacing issues. An orthodontist will develop a plan to correct these conditions using braces, clear aligners, Invisalign, etc.

How Do I Know If My Child Needs an Orthodontist Appointment?

If you notice any of the following early warning signs, visit our office for an orthodontic appointment. Early intervention may prevent more serious dental issues later on.

  1. Jaw misalignment
  2. Frequent thumb or finger sucking
  3. Misaligned, crowded or blocked-out teeth
  4. Frequent mouth breathing
  5. Early, late, or irregular loss of baby teeth
  6. Difficulty in chewing or biting
  7. Pain in the mouth or jaw
  8. Speech problems
  9. Clenching or grinding of teeth
  10. Teeth that stick out too far

#1. Misalignment of the Jaw

A misaligned jaw means that the upper and lower jaws are not aligned properly. If left untreated, this condition can cause dental complications in the future. Jaw misalignment can be corrected by wearing braces and undergoing corrective jaw surgery.

#2. Thumb or Finger Sucking

Thumb sucking is normal during infancy. However, if your baby continues to suck their thumb past age 2, it can cause their front teeth to shift forward and is a sign that your child may need braces. If possible, find ways to break this habit early before your child’s adult teeth erupt.

#3. Crowded Teeth

Teeth that are crowded together or blocked can lead to gum disease, tooth decay, and even cavities. To prevent this from happening, an orthodontist will recommend the use of traditional braces or clear aligners.

#4. Mouth Breathing

If your child frequently breathes through their mouth instead of their nose, it could affect their facial structure development, which leads to narrower jaws. Early orthodontics treatment can help prevent this issue.

#5. Early or Late Loss of Baby Teeth

When your child prematurely loses one or more baby teeth, the remaining teeth may space out to occupy the empty spaces. When they lose their baby teeth late, the permanent teeth may move too far back, causing crowding. Both situations require orthodontic treatment.

#6. Difficulty in Chewing or Biting

If your child has difficulty chewing or biting food, it may indicate a problem with their bite. They may have an open bite, crossbite, or underbite.

#7. Mouth or Jaw Pain

If your child frequently experiences pain in their mouth or jaw, it could mean that something is wrong with their bite. You should contact us immediately so we can determine what is causing their pain or discomfort.

#8. Speech Problems

Misaligned teeth can make speech difficult. If your child has trouble pronouncing certain words or sounds, it may indicate that their teeth are protruded or overlapping.

#9. Clenching or Grinding of Teeth

If your child clenches or grinds their teeth at night, it could be a sign that they are experiencing underlying orthodontic issues. Bring them into our office so we can evaluate their situation and determine specific treatment options.

#10. Teeth on Top Protrude Out Over Bottom Teeth

This is called an overjet. It occurs when the front upper teeth protrude beyond the bottom front teeth. Protruding front teeth can press into the lips, increasing the likelihood of lip injury during accidents. This problem can be corrected with the use of traditional braces and rubber bands.

Why Should I Consider Orthodontic Treatment for My Child?

Orthodontic treatment can provide numerous benefits for your child. It can help improve their overall oral health, reduce the risk of tooth decay and bruxism, and improve their self-esteem.

  • Reduces risk of tooth decay: Orthodontic treatment can help reduce the risk of tooth decay by correcting misaligned teeth and creating a better bite. When teeth are properly aligned, it is easier for your child to brush and floss their teeth, which helps remove plaque and bacteria that can cause cavities. Orthodontic treatment can also help reduce the risk of gum disease by making it easier to clean between the teeth.
  • Improves self-esteem: Having a beautiful smile can boost your child’s self-esteem. Orthodontic treatment can help improve the appearance of their teeth and give them the confidence they need to face the world with a smile.
  • Corrects jaw problems: Orthodontic treatment can also help correct jaw problems, such as an overbite or underbite. When the jaws are properly aligned, it can help reduce the risk of TMJ disorder and other jaw-related issues. It can also improve your child’s ability to chew and speak properly.
  • Improves oral health: Having straight teeth is not only aesthetically pleasing, but it can also improve your child’s overall oral health. When teeth are properly aligned, it is easier for your child to brush and floss their teeth, which helps reduce the risk of tooth decay and other oral health problems.
  • Reduces the risk of bruxism: Bruxism is a condition in which a person grinds or clenches their teeth, often while sleeping. This can cause pain and discomfort in the jaw and face, as well as headaches and tooth damage. Orthodontic treatment can help reduce the risk of bruxism by correcting misaligned teeth and creating a better bite. When teeth are properly aligned, it is easier for your child to relax their jaw muscles and prevent bruxism.

Have Your Child’s Teeth Assessed at Essenmacher Family Dental

Don’t delay your child’s orthodontic needs! Visiting your dental provider when your child is about 7 years old gives the orthodontist time to evaluate and make treatment recommendations. Contact Essenmacher Family Dental today to schedule an appointment!