Can I Tell if My Child Needs Braces?

child braces

Kenilworth, IL – Many children need orthodontic treatment at some point during their adolescence. Orthodontic treatment is an important milestone that can set your child up for a lifetime of good oral health. But are there signs that can indicate if your child may benefit from orthodontic treatment at some point?

“The only true way to determine if your child may need orthodontic treatment is through a consultation with a certified orthodontist,” says Chicago-area orthodontist Dr. Michael Stosich. “This should occur around the age of seven and is crucial because there may be subtle discrepancies present that may not be visible to the untrained eye, but that could result in more serious issues later in life. However, there are some signs that could indicate your child could benefit from treatment.”

The most common signs to look for include:

  • Baby teeth that fall out too early, too late, or in an abnormal pattern. This can throw off the regular pattern of how permanent teeth erupt, so it is important to monitor how your child’s baby teeth fall out. Your dentist can help provide insight on what is normal and what may be cause for concern. Additionally, you should schedule a consultation with an orthodontist at the age of seven so your child’s smile progress can be monitored.
  • Issues with biting or chewing. If your child has problems with properly biting or chewing his or her food, this can indicate an issue that orthodontic treatment can correct.
  • Mouth breathing. If your child breathes exclusively through his or her mouth, it can indicate an issue that may require expansion through orthodontic intervention.
  • Prolonged finger or thumb-sucking, or pacifier use. These prolonged habits can have repercussions on your child’s smile that may require orthodontic treatment to correct.
  • Teeth that look too crowded or misplaced. If your child doesn’t have enough room for the permanent teeth to adequately erupt, resulting in crowding and misplacement of teeth, the earlier they see an orthodontist, the better.
  • Jaw that looks protruded or receded. Early intervention can correct and guide jaw growth to create the most ideal environment for permanent teeth.
  • Jaws that make sounds. If your child’s jaw makes a popping or clicking noise, it could be due to an imbalanced bite that can be corrected through orthodontic treatment.
  • Biting into the roof of your mouth. If your child complains of biting into the roof of his or her mouth, it can indicate a severe overbite. If not corrected, it can lead to stripping of the gum tissues behind the upper teeth.
  • Teeth that don’t meet at all or meet irregularly. An abnormal bite can lead to more serious issues arising in the future, including fractures and even the loss of teeth.

“We encourage parents to schedule their child’s first orthodontic appointment around the age of seven,” says Dr. Stosich. “This is especially true if your child has any of the above-mentioned issues. But even if you don’t notice any of these issues, it’s important to visit an orthodontist to be sure your child’s smile is taking shape as it should. This way we can monitor and begin any necessary treatment at the precise time it will have the most impact.”

iDentity Orthodontics offers a free growth and guidance club for its youngest patients, called iD Kids Next Generation. This club is completely free of charge and includes in-office monitoring and at-home digital monitoring so Dr. Stosich can monitor the dental and facial growth of the members. By following up every six months, Dr. Stosich can catch any issues while they are still developing, allowing him to then treat your child with the most minimally invasive approaches.

We know parents want what is best for their children. At iDentity Orthodontics, so do we. iD Kids Next Generation gives us the opportunity to ensure our youngest patients get the orthodontic care they deserve, at the time it will most impact their smiles for the better. To learn more about DR. Stosich and iD Kids Next Generation, visit www.identityortho.com.

AUTHOR: Michael Stosich

Michael S. Stosich, DMD, MS, MS, is a specialist orthodontist for children and adults with subspecialty expertise in robotically assisted orthodontics. Dr. Stosich serves as the orthodontic director at the University of Chicago's cleft lip and palate clinic and craniofacial anomalies clinic, which treats complex pediatric craniofacial anomalies.