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As your child grows, you may be wondering if they’ll need braces when they become a preteen or a teenager. It’s estimated that about 45% of kids will need braces as they get their adult teeth, in order to correct issues with their bite and the alignment of their teeth.
But what are the signs that your child may need braces, and when do they need to get them? In this blog from Alamo Heights Pediatric Dentistry, we’ll get into all of the details that you need to know.
Braces are more than just cosmetic. Yes, after braces, your child will have a beautiful smile and even teeth. But that’s not the main reason that orthodontists recommend that kids get braces.
Braces are meant to correct functional issues with your child’s teeth and jaws. As their teeth grow and their jaw develops, your child’s teeth may grow crookedly or have uneven spacing. Or, their jaw and bite may not develop properly, leading to problems like underbites, overbites, or crossbites.
The primary goal of orthodontic treatments like braces is to correct these issues. Evenly spaced teeth aren’t just more attractive, but are also easier to clean, and can help reduce your child’s risk of tooth decay and gum disease. And treating bite and jaw problems also helps ensure their teeth come together properly, allowing them to chew properly and avoid issues like premature tooth wear and tear.
First, you may notice that they have abnormal gaps between their teeth, or that their teeth are crooked or too close together. It’s also common for kids to need braces if their baby teeth fall out too early or if their baby teeth fall out too late, since this can cause issues with the development of their adult teeth.
You may also notice that your child’s bite doesn’t look quite right. In an overbite, their chin will be sunken back, and their upper teeth will protrude beyond their lower teeth. Or, in an underbite, their chin will stick out more than usual, and their lower teeth will protrude beyond their upper teeth.
If your child has problems speaking or chewing properly, this could also indicate orthodontic problems that may be interfering with speech and eating. If you think that your child may need braces or orthodontic treatment, you should consult with a pediatric dentist like Dr. Angie Sage as soon as you can.
Braces are meant to move your child’s permanent teeth, so kids usually get braces when all of their adult teeth erupt. For most children, this will be when they're about 12 or 13 years old. Depending on your child’s situation, they may need to wear braces for 1-3 years or longer.
However, braces are only part of the equation. It’s best to bring your child to the dentist for an orthodontic consultation when they're 6-7 years old. This is a great time for your child’s dentist to identify potential orthodontic issues and problems with their oral development.
If you identify your child’s orthodontic issues in time, they can get “Phase 1 Orthodontics.” This is a type of orthodontic treatment that’s done between the ages of 6-9 to help treat common orthodontic issues, and reduce or even eliminate the need for braces in the future.
If you think that your child may need braces, Dr. Sage and the team at Alamo Heights Pediatric Dentistry are here to help. To schedule their first orthodontic consultation in San Antonio, just contact us online or give us a call at (210) 822-8381. We’re always accepting new patients, and we’d be happy to meet your little one, and help them take the next steps to get an even, healthy, and beautiful smile.