How do I know if my child needs braces?

Dra. Roselló
Orthodontic Specialist

Although a visit to a pediatric orthodontic clinic is necessary if we are to accurately diagnose whether your child requires orthodontic treatment, here are a few tips which will help give you an idea:

  1. The maxilla and the jaw are too different in size
    This is evident in the facial profile. When it comes to the teeth, we should make sure the upper teeth sit in front of the lower teeth, and that there is not a significant distance in between the two.
  2. The prolonged use of a dummy or a finger sucking habit
    The constant use of dummies or finger sucking can cause malformations in both the teeth and palate. These habits should be stopped at the age of two.
  3. Breathing through the mouth
    When a child has problems breathing through their nose and they tend to breathe through their mouth, this can cause a deepening of the palate and can stretch the upper maxilla. This often requires an orthodontic treatment.
  4. Cross-bite
    The upper teeth sit behind the lower teeth when the mouth is closed.
  5. Teeth crowding
    Ideally, teeth will be well aligned and in the correct position to ensure good hygiene and function.
  6. Difficulty with speech or pronunciation
    On some occasions, the tongue ‘thrusts’, causing a lack of natural speech. In addition to seeing a speech therapist, a visit to the orthodontist is also recommended.
  7. Open bite
    The upper and lower incisors do not touch. This can be skeletal or the result of a prolonged habit.
  8. Premature loss of milk teeth
    A spacer may be required to ensure that the permanent tooth has developed correctly.
  9. Delayed loss of milk teeth
    This could be a sign of a missing permanent tooth.

These are the main signs that a child needs braces. The next step is to find out when to start the orthodontic treatment. Once you know whether your child needs braces, you’ll need to make a decision about which type of dental brace is best for him/her. There are fixed braces, which help to correct incorrectly positioned teeth, and orthopedic braces used to correct bone growth.

The ideal age to start a dental brace treatment varies depending on each case. The Spanish Orthodontic Society recommends a first orthodontist visit at the age of 6, to give you an idea of whether or not your child needs a dental brace treatment and when the right time to start would be.

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