Many American children and teens face a number of issues with the appearance and function of their teeth, most of them no fault of their own. Many genetic factors play a role in determining how your teeth grow and what they look like, but luckily something can be done about it; millions of young adults throughout the United States rely on braces or Invisalign for orthodontic treatment, with many children beginning orthodontic treatment between the ages of 8 and 14 years old.

It can be hard to know exactly when is the right time to take your child to the orthodontist, but there are a few telltale signs that will let you know your child’s teeth require immediate attention. Below are some of the most common signs that your child may need to visit a pediatric orthodontist.

 

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Space Between Teeth

One of the most obvious signs, large gaps between teeth are a large indicator that your child may need braces. Known as “diastema”, these gaps can form between teeth when your child’s teeth are too small for their jawbone, or when an overgrowth of tissue lining their gums creates separation between them. Thumb sucking and certain swallowing reflexes can also cause the tongue to push teeth apart over time. Your orthodontist or pediatric dentist may be able to pinpoint what exactly is responsible for the gaps between your child’s teeth.

Crossbite, Overbite, Underbite

Crossbites, overbites, and underbites are all conditions in which a tooth (or teeth) isn’t aligned with the corresponding tooth above or below it. As their names suggest, a crossbite occurs when a tooth is too close to the cheek or tongue, an overbite occurs when maxillary (upper) teeth overlap mandibular (lower) teeth, and an underbite occurs when mandibular teeth overlap the maxillary teeth. These conditions can result in a child’s smile looking crooked, but braces or a headgear can help align the jaw and teeth. 

Teeth Crowding and Blockage

When your child’s teeth are too large for their jaw, their teeth may begin crowding, growing in crooked, or being blocked from erupting. Their teeth may appear to be bunched into one or several areas of the mouth, while others appear normal. Teeth that are blocked from growing in may cause jaw pain or improper chewing motions. Wearing braces can help straighten your child’s teeth and clear space for blocked teeth to erupt. 

 

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Biting Cheeks and Gums

For children with larger teeth that grow outward, cheek biting can be a painful problem. A common symptom of overbite and underbite, cheek and gum biting can damage the tissue in your mouth and cause canker sores or other wounds in the mouth. If your child is frequently complaining about biting certain areas of their mouth, they may need braces.

Difficulty Biting and Chewing Food

For some children, the alignment of their teeth can be so off that they may not be able to bite down forcefully enough to efficiently chew their food. Biting down on tough meat can be difficult if their front teeth grow in at an angle, and chewing food can be just as hard. Beyond being painful, the misalignment can cause long term effects on a child’s health if they’re not able to eat foods that provide adequate nutrition. Braces can align their teeth and make eating easier.

Schedule an Orthodontic Appointment, Today

Your child’s dental health is important for both their cosmetic and physical welfare. Nia Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics understands the value of both, which is why we employ the best orthodontists in Canton, Georgia. If you’re ready to talk about braces or other forms of dental treatment for your child, contact us today to make an appointment.