How to Tell If Your Child Needs Braces

best time for child to have bracesCrooked or misaligned teeth don't only affect children's appearances and self-esteem, they can also put their oral health and general health at risk. Catching orthodontic problems early improves the chance of your child having a healthy smile they can be happy with.

If your child's dentist thinks they might have an orthodontic problem, they may recommend an assessment or refer them to a specialist orthodontist. They can recommend the most suitable orthodontic treatment to help them and give you all the information you need to decide if it's the right choice.

What age can kids start wearing braces?

Most orthodontic treatments begin after a child has grown all of their permanent teeth, around the age of 11 to 13. Since the teeth and jaws are still developing at this age, braces have a higher chance of success for straightening teeth and correcting bites.

Orthodontic problems may be diagnosed at a younger age if your child's dentist or orthodontist thinks they could benefit from early intervention. Issues such as crooked, protruding or misaligned teeth may be detected as early as 7 to 9 years. Addressing these problems early could also help the permanent teeth growing beneath.

What are the signs of orthodontic problems?

A dentist can determine if your child needs braces or a different treatment when examining their teeth, but you should book an appointment at the dental clinic if you notice possible signs that your child's teeth and jaws may not be developing normally.

Common orthodontic issues include:

  • Crooked teeth – teeth that aren't straight can be harder to clean and wear down unevenly
  • Protruding teeth – upper teeth that stick out at an angle and are at greater risk of injury
  • Overbite – the upper teeth cover more than half of the lower teeth when closed
  • Underbite – the lower teeth sit in front of the upper teeth at the front of the mouth
  • Crossbite – both the upper and lower teeth overlap at different points in the mouth
  • Crowding – too many teeth in one space can overlap and become crooked
  • Gaps – large spaces between teeth may be an aesthetic concern or affect speech

A dentist or specialist orthodontist can examine your child's mouth and discuss any treatments that could help to straighten their smile.

What are the options?

Your child's dentist or orthodontist will examine their teeth and jaws, which may involve dental x-rays and taking an impression of their bite to help plan their treatment. Orthodontic treatments include:

  • Braces – brackets and wires attached to the teeth gradually move them into their new position over time. Elastic bands may be fitted between the braces if extra force is needed.
  • Aligners – older teenagers and adults who prefer not to wear braces may be eligible for clear aligners. These removable devices are worn over the teeth like a mouthguard.
  • Plates – often used for younger children, removable plates use wires and springs to move teeth or hold their position.
  • Retainers – worn after braces or other treatments to maintain the new position of your teeth. This may need to be worn all day or only at night.

Book an orthodontic consultation in Brisbane

If you think your child could benefit from orthodontic treatment, contact Swish Dental to book an appointment with our specialist orthodontist Dr Lesley Short. We can examine their mouth and discuss the best treatment options to straighten their smile.

Call our clinic in Everton Park on (07) 3355 1422 or our Mitchelton clinic on (07) 3354 3341.

References

Australian Dental Association. Teeth Straightening [Online] 2016 [Accessed September 2019] Available from: https://www.ada.org.au/Your-Dental-Health/Teens-12-17/Teeth-Straightening

Better Health Channel. Orthodontic treatment [Online] 2018 [Accessed September 2019] Available from: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/orthodontic-treatment