Perils of Parenthood: Does My Child Need Braces?
It’s true parenthood can be fraught with perils, but determining whether your Glendale, AZ child needs braces is not a decision parents have to make alone. In the field of pediatric dentistry it is recommended that all children receive an orthodontic evaluation no later than the age of seven, rather than waiting until they are teenagers as used to be customary. The reasoning is that by the age of seven most children have their first adult molars and incisors. At that time a Glendale AZ dentist can begin to evaluate your child’s bite. That way evidence of abnormal tooth eruption, incongruities in jaw development and tooth alignment can be caught early, sometimes preventing the need for braces later on. Problems with the jaw or arch are also more easily corrected while a child is still growing.
A parent may spot some problems even before age 7. Some things to watch for include:
- Overly crowded teeth
- Unusually early or late loss of baby teeth, especially accidental tooth loss
- Teeth grinding
- Jaws that make popping sounds
- Jaws and/or teeth that appear out of proportion to the face
- Thumb sucking or finger sucking
If you observe any of these issues with your child it can be a sign of various orthodontic problems such as an openbite, a crossbite, an underbite or an overbite. Even if you don’t see any problems, the reason your child should be assessed by someone in the field of pediatric dentistry is that a functional problem with their bite may not be obvious to the untrained eye. Having an attractive smile doesn’t guarantee that the bite is functioning properly.
Identifying orthodontic complications early on can afford your child dental preventative treatment, such as correcting discrepancies by influencing jaw growth, creating room for erupting teeth and maintaining space for teeth that haven’t erupted yet.
Misalignment of the teeth or jaws can cause more than cosmetic dental problems in Peoria. It can result in joint disorders such as TMJ disorder, speech defects, breathing problems, cavities and gum disease resulting from the inability to properly clean crowded teeth and decreased chewing proficiency which in turn affects nutrition and digestion.
As if those are not enough reasons for early intervention in bite complications, the benefits of early orthodontic treatment include the possibility of preventing the need for braces and/or reducing the treatment time needed with braces later on. In addition, the earlier bite and speech problems are corrected the less likely they are to affect a child’s confidence.
On the other hand you may find out that orthodontic intervention is not required at this time. The dentist may tell you that your child’s teeth are doing just fine, or recommend that your child’s teeth be monitored. If the dentist recommends monitoring your child’s teeth as they come in you will have the comfort of knowing all along the way that either your child’s teeth are coming in correctly or that the dentist will quickly see any problems and begin treatment at the most opportune time.
Early screening for orthodontic problems affords the best chance for your child to enjoy good oral health and a confident smile throughout their life. This in turn gives parents valuable piece of mind.