Does Your Child Need Dental Braces?
Who remembers the term “metal mouth?” Luckily, wearing braces today no longer comes with that social stigma. Dental braces have become a rite of passage for today’s children. Some can’t wait to get their own braces with the popular and uniquely colored bands.
Who Needs Dental Braces?
There are a number of reasons why children need braces. The most common is for straightening teeth that are crooked, overlapping, or overcrowded. Sometimes the problem is malocclusion or “bad bite” that results when there is a difference in the sizes of the top and bottom jaws.
There are two types of malocclusion:
- Overbite: The upper jaw is bigger than the lower jaw.
- Underbite: The lower jaw is larger than the upper jaw.
Jaw and tooth problems can be caused by accidents, the early loss of baby teeth, habits like thumb sucking, or even tooth decay. They are often directly inherited, which means that braces can “run in the family.”
When Should Children Get Braces
The first step in diagnosing a need for dental braces happens during a routine dental exam. Your child’s dentist may notice problems and recommend a visit with an orthodontist, a dentist with additional training, who specializes in aligning and straightening teeth The orthodontist will determine if there is a need for correction with braces and which type would be best.
There is no standardized age for starting treatment with braces. The best time for your child to get dental braces depends on your child’s teeth – both the severity and the cause of the misalignment. Some children start at 6, others at 10, and some as teenagers. Even adults today are wearing braces to correct previously untreated alignment problems. Many orthodontists recommend that children begin treatment once their permanent teeth start coming in, usually around age 7.
The next time you take your kids for their dental checkups, talk to your dentist about any problems and ask for advice on referral to an orthodontist. Pediatric orthodontics may be the right treatment for your family.
Remember, beautiful teeth are healthy teeth!
Dr. Nishan Halim
Nishan Halim, DMD specializes in a comprehensive approach to dental care in his Capitol Hill, Washington DC neighborhood dental center. He is committed to helping all his patients maintain a healthy smile. To find out more, schedule an appointment at your convenience.