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Signs That Your Child Needs Braces

Look for crooked teeth or difficulty biting and chewing
Read Time: 4 minutes
Sep 5, 2022

Getting braces is a common rite of passage for children in the United States. Millions of people at any given time in the US have braces on their teeth. Braces can be expensive, though, so it’s important for parents to know the signs that their children need braces so they’re getting them at the time they’ll be the most effective.

Sign #1

You Child Has Trouble Biting and Chewing

a child eating vegetables

If you notice that your child has difficulty properly biting and chewing food, this could be an indication that they need braces. This problem could be caused by the teeth being misaligned within the mouth. This kind of misalignment may be difficult to see, so if you notice your child having trouble eating, mention it to your dentist.

Sign #2

Your Child Mostly Breathes Through Their Mouth

a child watching a tablet with their mouth open for breathing

Mouth-breathing can impact the shape of your child’s face and is typically caused when the child can’t rest their tongue on the roof of their mouth. Breathing predominantly through the mouth can result in a narrower jaw, which in turn results in a crowded mouth because there isn’t enough room for all of the teeth.

Sign #3

Your Child’s Mouth Is Too Crowded

crowded upper teeth being examined by a dentist

Children with smaller mouths may not have enough room for all of their teeth to properly come in. This could result in teeth coming in crooked or in the wrong places. Braces would be needed to correct this problem.

Sign #4

Your Child Lost Their Baby Teeth Early

a girl with a space in her front teeth due to a lost baby tooth

If your child loses their baby teeth earlier than usual, other baby teeth could move into the space left behind, messing up the alignment of the adult teeth.

Sign #5

Your Child Lost Their Baby Teeth Late

a child wiggling a loose baby tooth

Similarly, if your child loses their baby teeth late alignment issues could result.

Sign #6

There Are Gaps Between Your Child’s Teeth

a child with braces to correct large gaps between her front teeth

Unlike alignment issues further back in the mouth, gaps between the teeth can be easier to spot. If you see that your child has spaces in between any of their teeth, then they may need braces. If there are gaps with the baby teeth, you may not need to worry about braces yet because the gaps could resolve themselves as the adult teeth come in. However, keep an eye on the gaps and ask your dentist about them.

Sign #7

Your Child Has an Underbite

a man with an underbite

An underbite occurs when the bottom teeth stick out beyond the front teeth, usually because the upper part of the jaw didn’t grow enough or the lower part of the jaw grew too much. Braces can help to correct this.

Sign #8

Your Child Has an Overbite

a woman with a pronounced overbite

The upper teeth are supposed to be in front of the bottom teeth, but if they protrude out too much, then this can cause an overbite. This could prevent your child from closing their lips completely, which can result in mouth-breathing, which in turn can affect the growth of the jaw and positioning of the teeth.

Sign #9

Your Child Sucks Their Thumb

a little girl sucking her thumb

Thumb-sucking is common with children of a certain age. However, once teeth start to grow in, continuing to suck their thumb could result in teeth misplacement and jaw misalignment.

Sign #10

Your Child’s Teeth Are Crooked

a closeup of a woman’s mouth showing her crooked teeth

Finally, if your child’s teeth are crooked for any reason, whether it’s crowding or something else, braces can help to correct that. Crooked teeth aren’t just an aesthetic problem; they could potentially impact oral health as well.

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For informational purposes only.