10 Early Warning Signs Your Child Needs an Orthodontist
As parents, we want to ensure our children have the best possible dental health. One way to do this is to be aware of the early warning signs that your child may need orthodontic treatment. If left untreated, some of dental issues can lead to more serious dental problems down the road.
What Parents Should Know About Early Orthodontic Care
It is important to note that early orthodontic care does not necessarily mean braces; it may simply involve monitoring your child’s dental development and making adjustments as needed. When you bring your child in for a dental checkup, the orthodontist will assess your child’s dental development and determine if any dental treatment is necessary.
Early orthodontic intervention can help to improve a child’s overall oral health by addressing issues early, such as overcrowding, misaligned teeth, and jaw growth. Having straight teeth can help reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum disease by making it easier for children to brush and floss their teeth properly.
Early orthodontic intervention can also help to improve your child’s self-esteem. A healthy, attractive smile can make a big difference in how your child feels about themselves. In addition, it can help improve your child’s speech development and make it easier for them to chew and bite food.
When to Seek Orthodontic Treatment for Your Child
The average age for children to get an orthodontic appointment should be around age 7. This is when the permanent teeth start to come in, and an orthodontist can detect any potential problems that need to be addressed. However, there are some signs that may indicate your child needs to see an orthodontist sooner.
Here are 10 early warning signs to watch out for:
#1. Thumb or Finger Sucking
Prolonged thumb or finger sucking can cause misalignment of the teeth and jaw. If your child is still sucking their thumb or fingers after the age of two, it’s best to have them evaluated by an orthodontist. Your orthodontist can give you advice on how to help your child break the habit.
#2. Crowded or Crooked Teeth
If your child has crooked or crowded teeth, it can cause difficulty in chewing and speaking. Crowded teeth can also make it difficult for your child to brush and floss properly, leading to an increased risk of tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease.
#3. Misalignment of the Jaw
If your child’s upper and lower jaws are not properly aligned, it can cause difficulty in chewing and speaking. It can also lead to facial asymmetry, which can affect your child’s self-esteem. Be sure to have your child evaluated by an orthodontist to determine the best course of action. If left untreated, it can lead to more serious dental problems later on in life.
#4. Frequent Mouth Breathing
If your child is frequently mouth breathing, it can affect their facial development and lead to narrower jaws and an increased risk of sleep apnea. Early orthodontic intervention can help to correct the problem and improve your child’s overall health.
#5. Speech Problems
Speech problems can be an indication that your child needs to see an orthodontist. If your child is having difficulty pronouncing certain words or sounds, it could be due to misalignment of the teeth or jaw.
#6. Difficulty in Chewing or Biting
Bite problems such as an overbite, underbite, or crossbite can make it difficult for your child to chew and bite food properly. When left untreated, it can lead to more serious dental problems such as tooth decay and gum disease.
#7. Jaw Pain
If your child is experiencing jaw or mouth pain, it could be due to misalignment of the teeth or jaw. Visit your orthodontist so they can evaluate the problem and recommend the best course of action.
#8. Early or Late Loss of Baby Teeth
Early loss of baby teeth can cause misalignment of the permanent teeth, while late loss of baby teeth can cause overcrowding and blocked-out teeth. Both situations require orthodontic treatment to ensure that adult teeth come in properly.
#9. Protruding Upper Teeth
An overjet, or teeth that stick out too far can cause difficulty in chewing and speaking. It can also lead to an increased risk of lip injury during sports or other activities since the upper front teeth can press against the lip.
#10. Teeth Grinding or Clenching
Clenching or grinding of teeth at night can be a sign that your child has underlying orthodontic issues. This habit can cause wear and tear on the teeth, leading to an increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease. An orthodontist can evaluate the problem and make treatment recommendations, such as wearing a mouth guard at night.
What To Expect During Your Child’s Initial Orthodontic Assessment?
When you take your child to the orthodontist for an initial assessment, the orthodontist will examine your child’s teeth and jaw structure. They may also take x-rays or photographs of your child’s mouth to get a better look at their teeth and jaws. The orthodontist will then discuss the findings with you and recommend a course of treatment if necessary. Treatment options may include traditional braces, retainers, or other orthodontic appliances.
Schedule an Orthodontic Appointment Today!
A healthy, beautiful smile is an essential part of your child’s overall health and well-being. If you notice any of the signs mentioned above, it’s important to schedule an orthodontic appointment as soon as possible. An experienced orthodontist can evaluate your child’s teeth and jaws and recommend the best treatment plan to ensure a healthy, brighter smile for years to come.
"Dear Dr. Lambert,I cannot thank you enough for answering my call! You are truly an angel, then on top of it, my first visit was not bad at all! My fears I have of dentists - that I have had for many years due to my experiences that were not pleasant at all, are now better due to you. I thank you so very much! You are certainly a "10" in my book! You have got yourself a new patient! Thank you again for everything!"Beth R.