Over 4 million children across the United States get braces each year. It may seem like a rite of passage for many young children but should it be the norm for every child? Understanding what dental irregularities require dental assistance is important to make the right choice for your child.
What Are Braces?
Braces are dental devices installed by dentists and orthodontists in order to straighten teeth. While straight teeth may seem like a cosmetic treatment, they can provide benefits other than improved confidence for your child. Some of the benefits of getting braces are:
- They prevent oral issues- Issues like tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease can all stem from improper dental hygiene habits. Braces can help space your teeth out so that it is much easier to brush and floss, greatly reducing your likelihood of developing any of these dental problems.
- They help with speech impediments- Teeth alignment can often affect the sounds that our mouths are able to produce. By improving overall alignment, those who have difficulty speaking or producing certain sounds will have a much-improved pronunciation.
- They help with digestion- Sometimes, when teeth are aligned inaccurately, it can create irregularities with chewing food. Food may not be crushed down into appropriate sizes for the body to process and larger chunks of food that haven’t been ground down can cause digestive issues.
- They improve jaw function- Those with over or underbites may experience jaw exhaustion because their jaw has to work overtime to chew food. Braces can correct any teeth alignment and improve the function of your jaw so that you don’t experience jaw exhaustion in the future.
- They are secure- Because braces have a strong hold or attachment to the actual teeth, they can hold the teeth in place should any incident happen where the teeth are at risk of falling out.
Braces can improve many aspects of someone’s oral health win one simple treatment plan. The average person will wear braces for a year at a minimum but treatment time may be extended if the dental issues are severe.
Signs That Your Child Needs Braces
While it may be easy to spot certain dental issues that may benefit from braces, some issues may be harder to identify. Some signs that your child may need braces are:
- Overly crowded or spaced teeth- Spacing that causes gaping or the lack of spacing that causes teeth to overlap is a clear sign that your child may need braces.
- Unproportional jaw- Braces can greatly benefit and fix many issues that result from a slanted or disproportionate jaw structure.
- Irregular or inconsistent loss of baby teeth- Those who have a delayed or unpredictable baby teeth loss may cause adult teeth to emerge in a disproportional way.
- Difficulty chewing food or biting- If your child has consistent problems properly chewing their food or biting down in general, they may benefit from braces.
If you are wondering if your child is a candidate for braces, it may be beneficial to consult their dentist or get a referral to an orthodontist.