8 Ways to Know When Your Child Needs Orthodontic Support

Orthodontic issues in children are a common concern for many parents. Early recognition of these problems is crucial to ensuring that your child receives timely, effective treatment. As a parent, your role in spotting the signs is invaluable and can greatly help your child in the long run.

Understanding these signs will allow you to act promptly, ensuring your child’s long-term dental health and well-being. Let’s talk about how you can identify when your child may need orthodontic support.

1. Regular Checkups

Routine dental checkups are crucial for detecting orthodontic issues early in your child’s life. Dentists are skilled in monitoring dental health and development. They’re equipped to identify potential issues that may not be visible or obvious to you.

One of the best ways to know when your child needs orthodontic support is by keeping up with regular dental checkups. It is the most proactive approach for your child’s oral health.

2. Underbites or Crossbites

An underbite is when the lower teeth are in front of the upper teeth.  A crossbite is when some, or all, of the upper teeth are inside of the lower teeth.  An orthodontist should evaluate both of these immediately. When left uncorrected for long periods of time, asymmetric jaw growth can occur, resulting in more complicated orthodontics later in adolescence.

Modification of the upper jaw cannot be completed without surgical intervention after the age of 16.  It is important to modify the maxilla prior to a child’s growth cessation in order to prevent jaw surgery when possible. Please consult with your dental professional if you see either of these bites in your child.

3. Difficulty in Chewing or Biting

You may notice your child struggling to chew or bite into their food. If this occurs frequently, it could signal an orthodontic issue. Misalignment in their teeth or jaws can make these basic actions challenging, indicating a need for a professional evaluation.

Observing your child during meals can provide valuable clues. Is their chewing uneven, or do they favor one side of the mouth? These signs may appear minor, but they could suggest underlying issues that need attention from an orthodontist.

4. Mouth Breathing

Did you know humans are naturally meant to breathe through their noses? Mouth breathing is another sign that your child might need orthodontic help. While it may seem harmless, habitual daytime mouth breathing can impact your child’s facial growth and oral health.

It can lead to changes in the shape and functioning of the mouth and jaw, necessitating orthodontic treatment.

If mouth breathing is frequent, it may be worth discussing with your child’s dentist or an orthodontist. They can assess whether this behavior is influencing your child’s oral development and suggest steps to take.

5. Crowded or Misplaced Teeth

Overcrowding or misplacement of teeth is a clear indicator that orthodontic intervention is needed for your child. These issues are easily noticeable and can cause difficulty in maintaining oral hygiene.

It’s important to understand that timely dental checkups can help correct such problems, facilitating better oral health. If you notice these issues in your child’s teeth, a consultation with an orthodontist would be a good idea.

6. Protruding Teeth

Protruding teeth can be a clear sign that your child requires orthodontic attention. This condition can impact your child’s appearance and self-confidence, and can also increase the risk of dental injury.

If you notice that your child’s teeth are jutting out or are not in line with the rest of their teeth, it’s time to seek advice from an orthodontist.

7. Thumb or Finger Sucking

While thumb or finger sucking is common in younger children, prolonged habits can lead to orthodontic problems. It can affect the alignment of teeth, the roof of the mouth, and even jaw growth.

If your child continues this habit beyond the eruption of the upper front teeth, it might be time to discuss it with a dental professional.  Ideally, the habit will cease when the upper and lower incisors roots are still forming and allow these teeth to erupt into the arches in a more natural and more stable position.

8. Speech Difficulty

Did you know speech difficulties may be a result of orthodontic problems? Misaligned teeth or issues with the jaw can interfere with clear speech, leading to lisping, slurring, or mispronunciation.

If your child is experiencing speech issues, consider an evaluation by an orthodontist.

Get Your Child the Orthodontic Support They Need

Your child’s oral health plays a significant role in their overall well-being. By staying vigilant and recognizing the signs early, you can ensure they receive timely, effective orthodontic treatment. Remember, every child’s dental development is unique, and it’s normal to have questions or concerns. Dr. Kendra Manning understands your concerns and is here to support you. If you’ve noticed any of these signs in your child, don’t hesitate to reach out to us today.