3 Major Signs Your Child Needs to See an Orthodontist
Your child should have their first check-up with an orthodontist no later than age 7. This does not mean that your child will necessarily need orthodontic treatment at this age.
But the sooner your child’s orthodontic issues are noticed, the easier to correct them since their jawbones are more pliable and responsive to treatment. What’s more, the procedures will be less invasive and faster.
Orthodontic treatment will not only improve the aesthetics of your child’s smile but can also prevent potential dental and other health problems down the road. This is why you need to visit the dentist and together you may take note of any orthodontic problems.
Here are the three signs that indicate you need to take your child to see an orthodontist as soon as possible.
1. Bite or Spacing Issues
For your child to have a beautiful smile, they need more than pearly whites. Their teeth should also be straight. But bite problems or malocclusions can keep their teeth from looking straight and stunning, holding your child back from having the smile of your dreams.
Visiting an orthodontist can go a long way to overcome these bite problems. While each bite problem is unique, here are some bite problems your child may experience.
It occurs when one or more of your child’s upper teeth bite inside the lower teeth, leading to misalignment of teeth. Failure to see an orthodontist can lead to lopsided jaw growth and wearing down of the enamel.
Your child has an overbite when their upper jaw and front teeth overlap the lower front teeth too much. With about 70% of children showing some signs of having an overbite, you should take your child to an orthodontist before they start experiencing jaw pain, speech difficulties, headaches, and more.
Do your child’s lower front teeth come in front of their upper front teeth when they bite down? Your child may have an underbite. Seeing an orthodontist for kids can stop your child’s face from having a “bulldog” appearance. It also reduces the chances of them having TMJ issues, headaches, chewing difficulties, and even sleep disorders.
Occurs when your child’s front teeth don’t overlap the lower teeth, leading to a gap between the upper and lower teeth as they bite down. To prevent your child from developing jaw issues, visit an orthodontist to treat the open bite.
A lack of space in your mouth causes their teeth to grow crooked and overlap. It can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease because it makes it difficult to clean their teeth. Since crowded teeth don’t align well when biting, it may cause headaches and eating difficulties.
If your child’s teeth are too small, their front teeth may be separated by large gaps. You should take your child to an orthodontist before the spacing issue increases their chances of getting cavities and gum disease.
2. Difficulties Chewing, Speaking, Sleeping, and Breathing
The best time to visit a kid’s orthodontist depends on the cause and severity of their misaligned teeth. If your child has severe tooth misalignment, they may struggle to chew their food, resulting in digestive problems. They may miss out on getting essential nutrients. While you may opt to give them soft foods, their jaw may not develop correctly in strength or size if you prolong it.
Apart from chewing, you may notice your child has difficulty speaking. For instance, some sounds like S and T will require your child to press their tongue against the back of your teeth. But due to misaligned teeth, your kid may mispronounce them. Teeth misalignment will often change the placement of your child’s tongue, allowing excess air to pass between their teeth to create a whistle when they speak.
If you’ve noticed your child snores or doesn’t get quality sleep, it may be due to misaligned teeth. A misaligned bite can also increase your child’s risk of clenching or grinding while they sleep, meaning their body isn’t relaxed at night.
Additionally, crooked teeth may lead to mouth breathing. When your child breathes through their mouth, they won’t get enough oxygen and it’ll dry out the tissue in their mouths. Having a dry mouth also increases the growth of harmful bacteria that cause cavities. Since children who breathe through their mouth will have their mouth open often, it can also affect the appearance of their face.
3. Habitual Actions
While thumb sucking is a natural reflex of a child, it should disappear between ages 2 and 4. But if it persists for longer, the pressure of your child’s thumb on the front teeth and the upper jaw can cause their teeth to move apart. As they move apart, their jaws can change shape and lead to the misalignment of their teeth.
Tongue thrusting can be an indicator of misaligned teeth as well. It occurs when your child pushes their tongue against the inside of their teeth. You can notice tongue thrusting when the tip of your child’s tongue sticks out between their teeth when they’re swallowing, speaking, or resting. To find out more about signs of our kid’s misaligned teeth, visit our orthodontic clinic for Invisalign treatment.
What to Expect When Your Kid See an Orthodontist?
When your child visits the orthodontist for the first time, they will conduct a thorough examination. The orthodontist will take your child’s oral photographs and x-rays, keeping track of any issues they notice. It also allows them to come up with reliable solutions to correct them.
You can take advantage of the first appointment and ask any questions you may have about their treatment, their care, and their qualifications. You can also give the orthodontist your medical history. All these ensure the orthodontist offers personalized treatment for your needs.
Get Comprehensive Orthodontic Treatment
Are you still asking yourself, “when should my kid see an orthodontist?”
A visit to the orthodontist is crucial in case your child has misaligned teeth. All you need to do is to check out the signs above so that they can get fast treatment. For more information, read our blogs.