San Francisco, Marin, and Oakland, CA
Children often have crooked teeth during the mixed dentition phase. This is when they are losing baby teeth as their permanent teeth emerge. Some dentists take the wait and see approach, assuming that the child’s teeth eventually will straighten after all of their adult teeth come in. But, that isn’t the case for everyone because one out of every five Americans has misaligned teeth or malocclusion. Not only could having crooked teeth make your child feel self-conscious about their appearance, but it also increases their risk for developing cavities. The question is, does your child need braces? Family dentists at Glen Park Dental are answering that question today on the blog.
Here’s how to tell if your child could benefit from orthodontics
Your child has crooked teeth
Twisted, crooked, or overlapping teeth are one of the most common reasons why orthodontists recommend braces for children. Usually, teeth do not straighten or shift on their own, especially if most of your child’s permanent teeth have already erupted.
Your child sucks their thumb
Thumb sucking is natural for babies and young toddlers. In fact, as many as 8 out of 10 children suck their thumb. Usually, this habit ceases by the age of two or four, although 12% of four-year-olds suck their thumb still. While it might but a cute habit, it’s wrecking your child’s teeth, causing malocclusion, including crossbites and overbites in which the upper teeth protrude significantly over the bottom teeth.
Your child has gapped teeth
Diastema, as it is called, refers to gapped teeth, which often results from poor oral habits, such as tongue thrust, a lip-tie, or thumb sucking. While orthodontics correct the effects of negative oral behavior, the behavior itself must be stopped to prevent orthodontic relapse. Myofunctional therapy often is prescribed for children in these cases that have an orofacial myofunctional disorder.
The upper teeth overlap the lower teeth
An overbite occurs when the upper teeth cover up too much of the lower teeth. Often, the lower jaw is recessed, and the patient’s profile exhibits a “weak” chin. Likewise, if your child’s lower teeth protrude, covering the upper teeth, this is indicative of an underbite. Overbites and underbites both must be corrected with orthodontics for kids.
Your child is a mouth breather
Mouth breathing is a problem because it causes an imbalance in the child’s facial muscles. If not corrected, mouth breathing affects the child’s facial and jaw development. This may lead to an unattractive appearance and crooked teeth. Plus, it’s not healthy. A child that mouth breathes isn’t getting enough oxygen. No loving parent would ever withhold food or water from their child, why should air be any different? Mouth breathing is dangerous, it’s life threatening.
Your child experiences dental pain
Crooked teeth could lead to dental pain in the child’s teeth or jaw joints. This could cause your child to bite awkwardly, which places an excessive amount of biting pressure on specific teeth, or on one side of the jaw only. If your child complains of jaw pain, and their jaw clicks and pops when they open their mouth, bite or chew, consider getting a TMJ evaluation by neuromuscular dentists in San Francisco at Glen Park Dental.
Your child is a cheek biter
If your child has a misaligned bite, it could cause them to bite their cheeks unknowingly. Your child may be unaware that they are a cheek biter because it may not actually cause any irritation or discomfort. However, your child’s pediatric dentist in Marin can easily detect if your child is a cheek biter.
Orthodontics for Kids: Protect your child’s oral health
At Glen Park Dental, we offer orthodontic treatment for children of various ages. Orthotropics focuses on facial growth guidance, which expands the child’s jaw growth to allow for their teeth to emerge and straighten without braces. Crozat & ALF appliances can be used in some cases to eliminate or reduce the need for braces as your child gets older. By applying light force, the upper dental arch expands and decreases the need for extensive orthodontics later on. Even adults may benefit from light-wire appliances. If your child requires traditional braces or Invisalign, we can help them achieve a straighter, healthier smile.
To find out which orthodontic treatment program is right for your child, schedule a consultation with Glen Park Dental by calling (415) 585-1500. During your child’s consultation, a complete oral exam will be performed, and dental x-rays may be needed to assess your child’s jaw development. Glen Park Dental provides orthodontic treatment for both children and adults in the Bay Area, including Marin and Oakland.