When Are Early Braces Needed, And Why?

According to the American Association of Orthodontists, children should have an orthodontic consultation no later than seven years old. At this age, baby teeth are falling out as permanent teeth are erupting, the jaw is still growing, and habits such as thumb sucking could still be lingering. These factors make it the best time to assess whether a child may benefit from early orthodontic intervention in order to address issues that could lead to major dental problems later in life. At Bankhead, our experts in the art of orthodontics would be happy to examine your child to see how his or her mouth is developing and determine if early treatment is needed.

Some conditions in which we may recommend early orthodontic care include:

Irregular Jaw Structure

If your child’s jaw isn’t growing properly, it’s important that we intervene while the bones are still soft to prevent the need for oral surgery in the future. We will discuss what’s causing the problem and either suggest lifestyle changes to correct it (such as stopping a thumb sucking habit), or recommend braces or retainers.

  • A crossbite happens when the lower jaw shifts to one side, causing problems with chewing or biting. This should always be corrected before the age of 10.
  • An underbite happens when the lower jaw juts out in front of the upper jaw, which results due to a growth problem in the upper jaw. If not treated early, there’s a chance your child will need jaw surgery as a young adult.
  • An overbite happens when the upper jaw bites in front of the lower jaw. If the overbite is severe, the lower front teeth can rub in back of the upper front teeth, and the upper front teeth may rub the gum line of the lower front teeth. This can lead to gum recession, enamel damage, early tooth loss, and may also cause speech problems and jaw pain as your child grows older.

Potential for Crowding
Children’s mouths should have enough room for permanent teeth as they come in, or they may need extractions in teen years. Preventing crowding also minimizes the chances of oral disease because it allows enough room for thorough brushing between teeth. Using braces or other orthodontic appliances, we can make plenty of room for new teeth as they emerge.

Protruding Teeth
Kids are naturally pretty clumsy, so when their teeth aren’t protected behind the lips, they’re at risk of having a permanent tooth knocked out during a fall. Protruding teeth can result from pacifier use, thumb sucking, or simple genetics, and braces can pull the teeth back into a safe position.

Speech Problems
You may notice that your child has trouble saying certain words, or you may hear a lisp when they make certain sounds. Speech problems happen when the lips, cheeks, tongue, jaw and teeth aren’t working together as they should to produce a clear, well-articulated sound. It could be because the upper teeth overlap the bottom teeth, preventing the tongue from landing where it should, or maybe there’s a gap between the top and bottom teeth allowing air to escape (causing that lisp you hear). Whatever the issue is, we’ll let you know if braces can correct it before you seek speech therapy.

Trust Bankhead Orthodontics to Provide the Best Solutions for Your Family
As experts in the art of orthodontics, we are passionate about the dental health of our patients at every age. Early screening is key to preventing major dental problems, so come into our office to have an open, honest discussion about the benefits of interceptive treatment for your child. We look forward to adding your family to ours.

If you need braces to enjoy these important health benefits, work with the experts at Bankhead Orthodontic Specialists. Serving the St. Louis, MO, Metro area as well as southeastern Illinois via six convenient locations, these trained specialists offer traditional, lingual and clear braces as well as Invisalign® to provide patients with highly customized solutions. Call (636) 978-8848 today to schedule a
consultation, and visit the website for more information about braces.

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