Americans perceive people with straight teeth as 58% more likely to be successful. Individuals with a straight smile are seen as happy, healthy, and smart.

Of course, you want to give your child the best advantages in life. But braces for kids go way beyond the aesthetics. There are many medical reasons why children’s braces are important.

Read on to learn the signs that your child will need braces and when you should start orthodontic care.

Signs That Show the Need for Children’s Braces

Between birth and 10 years, a child will go through a vast number of growth phases in their head and face (including the mouth).

During this early development, several problems can occur such as crooked or crowded teeth, overbites or underbites, incorrect jaw position and disorders of the jaw joints.

It’s important to understand that braces aren’t just a way to get a perfect smile. Children’s braces can improve the health and lifestyle of individuals.

Without correction, issues with the jaw, dental arch or teeth can lead to mouth breathing due to cramped sinuses, snoring, improper posture, bad quality sleep at night and even dark circles under the eyes. 

Unattended, these issues can cause long-term health concerns that can last into adulthood.

Here are some of the signs that you should look into braces for kids.

1. Misaligned and Crooked Teeth

Do your child’s teeth look crooked or in the wrong spot when he or she smiles? Sometimes this is most noticeable when the adult tooth is first growing in.

2. Teeth Hit the Tongue or Cheek

Does your child always seem to bite their tongue, lip or cheek? It’s probably not just because he or she is growing. Many times, this is a sign that one or more teeth are out of place.

3. Jaws Don’t Line Up Properly 

Improper alignment of teeth makes it hard for a child to close his or her mouth with the teeth resting on top of each other. 

You might notice that your child’s jaw sticks out, shifts side to side during talking or chewing. Or the jaw could be recessed.

This is a huge sign that you’ll need braces for kids in your family.

4. Difficulty Chewing or Biting

Some kids have a hard time chewing certain foods such as steak, whole apples, and other crunchy or chewy foods.

Often, this is due to teeth not lining up properly. Because their teeth don’t meet as they should, it can be difficult to chew or bite certain foods.

Chewing is a vital part of the digestive process. People who don’t chew their food well are at risk of choking, aspiration, malnutrition, and dehydration.

5. Irregular Loss of Teeth

All children will lose their baby teeth. But the timing is very telling. If your child loses his or her teeth too early, too late or in an irregular way, he or she may need braces.

6. Thumb Sucking

When children suck their fingers or thumbs, they are more likely to need braces. 

Now that you know the signs to watch out for, get the answer to this common question: “what age can you get braces?”

First Orthodontic Consultation 

Many people wonder, “what age do kids get braces?” and the truth is that it is different for every child.

There is no minimum age that children’s braces can go on. It depends on various factors and how urgently those issues need to be addressed.

The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children have their first orthodontic consultation by the age of seven. By seven years old, your child will have a few adult molars and have a permanent bite pattern.

At this stage, children’s braces are rare. Yet, your child could have moderate orthodontic treatment such as removing baby teeth to make room for adult teeth.

Keep in mind that young children have softer, more malleable bones. It is easier to get their jaws to move or grow into the ideal shape at this stage. And because younger kids grow faster, treatment takes less time.

Early intervention at this age can correct some oral issues. And, while children’s braces might be inevitable for your child, early intervention can reduce the length of time braces will need to be worn.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Get Braces?

On average, orthodontists apply children’s braces at around 11-13 years of age. By this age, a child has usually lost all his or her baby teeth and have all of their permanent adult teeth.

There are various orthodontic treatments available that your doctor can discuss with you and your child. 

Orthodontic braces treatment has the best results in children between the ages of 9-14. At this age, jaw discrepancies are easier to correct because the child is still growing. Having braces at a younger age can cause your child to need braces again in their teens. 

Waiting too long for braces could result in poor patient cooperation because some teens won’t be willing to care for their braces the way they should. This results in longer timeframe and higher cost for the parents.

Also, if you wait too long to get your child braces, you run the risk that he or she will still be wearing braces during prom, graduation and senior pictures.

Of course, most important of all, postponing orthodontic treatment can result in the need for extraction of adult teeth or even jaw surgery.

Final Word on Braces for Kids

Thanks for reading. We hope you know understand that braces for kids do much more than give them a Hollywood-ready smile.

At TDR Orthodontics, we’ve crafted beautiful smiles for our patients in the greater Detroit area since 1989.

We have four conveniently located offices to serve you. We are open early and offer late appointments each week to accommodate your busy schedule.

Schedule a free consult today to get started.