Braces are a common fix to misaligned teeth, especially for children. Braces can do much more for your child than simply give them a better-looking smile.
As parents, you probably have questions or concerns about braces for your child. Our Fremont, CA orthodontist helps break down common questions to help you make the best decision for your child’s orthodontic treatment.
Why Do Kids Need Braces?
Not all kids will need braces, but most can benefit from them.
Our teeth play a big role in how we pronounce words, maintain oral hygiene, and break down food. When they are not in the correct positions, they can cause several problems.
Better Speech Development
Our teeth and mouth shape can inhibit the proper pronunciation of certain words. If you have a malocclusion, it can restrict tongue and lip motion, causing a speech impediment.
Neglecting misalignment can cause your child to develop muscle memory when saying certain words, and it will be difficult to unlearn – even after their teeth are straightened.
Correcting malocclusion has many health benefits and can prevent many issues from developing.
First of all, having straight teeth that are properly spaced optimizes your child’s ability to clean them. This is important because when plaque collects, it can quickly cause periodontal disease (gum disease). Gum disease can cause tooth and bone decay and cost you thousands of dollars down the road.
Additionally, an improper bite can put extra force on certain teeth and make them susceptible to damage. Our teeth are supposed to fit together in a very specific way, so any variation puts teeth at risk when chewing, playing sports, and even talking.
Speaking of chewing, our teeth (and saliva) are the first step in the digestion process. If you’re unable to adequately chew your food, your stomach has to step up. Unfortunately, it probably won’t be able to fully compensate, so you will lose valuable nutrients that can lead to malnutrition.
It's easy for kids (or adults, even) to feel self-conscious about their smile when they don't have perfectly straight teeth.
Unfortunately, misaligned teeth can bring unwanted negative attention. A straighter smile can be a huge confidence boost for kids.
Does My Child Need Braces?
Oftentimes, your general dentist can spot alignment issues during a regular checkup. They will be able to refer you to a trusted orthodontist. This is one of the reasons you should keep up with routine dentist appointments.
If you think your child might need braces, but their dentist has not mentioned anything about it, ask yourself the following questions:
Does my child have trouble pronouncing certain words?
Do my child’s teeth look like they align properly?
Does my child complain about chewing difficulties?
Does my child often breathe through their mouth?
Did my child suck their thumb after they began losing teeth?
Did my child start losing teeth early?
This is by no means a complete list of indicators that your child needs braces. However, these are some of the most common issues associated with a misaligned bite. If you think your child might benefit from braces, contact your local orthodontist or bring it up to your child’s dentist on the next visit.
Why Are My Child’s Teeth Crooked?
There are several reasons why your child's teeth aren't straight. Genetics plays a large role in how straight your child’s teeth will be, but this is only part of the equation.
Severely misaligned teeth can be a result of genetics, bad habits as a toddler, or both.
Development, specifically mouth development, happens rapidly in the first few years of life. Prolonged pacifier use, thumb sucking, and bottle feeding are common culprits of misalignment.
Generally, these actions aren’t a concern if they stopped before they started losing teeth, but everyone is different.
What is the Right Age for My Child to Get Braces?
The ideal age range to get braces is between 10 and 13. You can benefit from braces at any age, but getting braces as a child is more beneficial. This is because children’s mouths are more accepting of change since they are still developing.
Each case is unique, but we usually recommend waiting until your child loses all their baby teeth before getting braces. There are some instances, however, where severe misalignment affects the well-being of children younger than 10. If this is the case, we may apply braces on children as young as seven.
Top 3 Care Tips for Your Child’s Braces
When your child gets braces, they will need to be especially diligent with their oral care. Because of this, you will need to make sure your child knows how to clean their teeth and braces and what they can and can’t eat.
If you want to save money on future dental repairs for your child, you’ll want to follow these braces care tips.
Have the Right Tools
Without the right tools, it will be impossible for your child to properly clean their teeth and braces. Here are some of the things we recommend.
Water Flosser - A water flosser is a great investment because it works great to rid food particles stuck in braces and between teeth.
Floss Threaders - Floss threaders allow the user to thread the floss between their teeth (and braces) to get their gum line since the gums are blocked by the wires.
Electric toothbrush - An electric toothbrush is a valuable tool when it comes to braces care. The rotating motion does a great job of removing food in and around brackets. What’s more, you can get an attachment specifically designed to clean braces.
Watch What They Eat and Drink
If you’re spending hard-earned money for your child to have a better smile, you probably want to make sure they care for them to save you money. Several foods and drinks should be limited to prevent cavities and damage to their braces.
You should limit or eliminate their consumption of:
Candy - If they decide to treat themselves every once in a while, don’t let them chew hard or sticky candy. These types of candy will almost definitely cause damage to their braces.
Candy in general usually contains a ton of sugar that is hard to remove from braces and teeth, so it’s best to avoid it when possible.
Sugary Drinks - Similar to candy, sugary drinks leave behind a lot of sugar and will create extra cleaning your child probably won’t want to do. Because of this, you should restrict their soda and juice intake.
Ice - No one should chew ice, but doing so with braces can easily dislodge wires and brackets and can extend how long your child has to wear their braces.
Keep Their Mouth Protected
If your child plays a sport involving a ball, they should always wear a mouthpiece. This will help protect their braces and lips from damage should they get hit in the face with the ball.
Braces for Children in Fremont, CA
If your child has misaligned teeth, you shouldn’t wait until problems develop or get worse. Book an appointment online or give us a call today and let’s get your child started on their journey to a healthier smile.