Some kids can't wait to get braces. They see braces as a sign that adolescence and adulthood are not far behind. Others are a little curious about what they'll be like and how they'll look. However your child feels, parents should have legitimate and functional reasons for their child to get braces before sending him to the orthodontist.
According to Dr. Joycelyn Esguerra, an orthodontics expert, kids are advised to wear dental braces for a number of reasons, including crooked, overlapping, or overcrowded teeth, or a bad bite or in dental terms, malocclusion. It is a discrepancy in the sizes of the top and bottom jaws. When the upper jaw is bigger than the lower jaw, it's called an overbite. When the lower jaw is bigger, it's called an underbite.
While there is no set age for when you need to bring your child to the dentist, Dr. Esguerra recommends that kids receive orthodontic screenings starting age 7. At this age, permanent teeth generally begin to come in; and it is at this point that orthodontic problems become apparent. Often your child's dentist will be the first to notice problems during a regular visit and recommend that you see an orthodontist, a dentist who specializes in correcting jaw and/or teeth alignment problems.
Starting the process of visiting an orthodontist early doesn't mean a child will get braces right away. It means the expert will be able to determine if any problems exist and assess the best way to start the treatment.
Wearing braces is not easy for children because they will need to work extra hard to keep their teeth clean. Children with braces also need to avoid certain foods such as crunchy snacks, hard and sticky candy, and gum because they can damage the braces. Sugary sodas and juices can be a problem too, because these can contribute to tooth decay.
Whether your child will need braces or not, it is your responsibility as a parent to ensure his or her good oral hygiene. Misalignments and other orthodontic issues may be out of your control, but you can always ensure that your kids have clean teeth, and fresh breath by brushing and flossing regularly.
Dr. Joycelyn Esguerra
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