How to know if your child needs braces

At Charlottesville Orthodontics, we’ve helped countless patients in Charlottesville, VA, and the surrounding areas achieve a healthy, beautiful new smile through orthodontic treatment. We treat patients of all ages and we frequently treat families, and if there’s one question we hear more than any other from parents, it’s this: “How do I know if my child needs braces?” As your dedicated Charlottesville orthodontist, we wanted to shed a little light on this issue and explain how parents can tell if their child needs orthodontic treatment.

How to tell if your child needs orthodontic treatment

First, there’s one thing to get clear on: As a rule, you should see the orthodontist whenever you have a question about your or your child’s smile or you think you notice something out of place. Our team is always available to talk with you and address your concerns, so don’t hesitate to reach out. We’ll help you determine if the issue warrants an examination appointment.

No matter the situation, though, you should bring your child in for an initial orthodontic evaluation by age seven. This is the recommendation of the American Association of Orthodontists, and the reason we examine so early is that the back bite has developed by this age. This allows us to evaluate all tooth relationships and spot both current problems and those that may develop later. We may or may not start with early orthodontic treatment right away, but evaluating early gives us the flexibility to monitor your child’s growth and choose the ideal time for treatment.

Finally, there are a few signs to look out for in early childhood that may indicate your child needs orthodontic intervention earlier than age seven. This is usually the case only if there’s a developmental problem or if your child picks up a habit that can misalign the teeth, like prolonged thumb sucking. Here are a few of the biggest signs that your child may need to see an orthodontist:

  • Sucking a thumb or finger past age four
  • Mouth breathing
  • Irregular baby tooth loss
  • Problems with chewing, biting, or swallowing
  • Visibly crowded or misplaced teeth
  • Biting into the cheek or roof of the mouth
  • Jaws that appear misaligned, shift or make sounds

Schedule a consultation with your Charlottesville kid’s orthodontist

We hope this blog makes it a little clearer when your child needs to see an orthodontist, but as always, you’re better off to be safe than sorry. If you think your child may need orthodontic treatment, contact us or fill out our appointment request form. We’ll talk with you to decide if the issue is urgent or should wait, and if it’s time, we’ll schedule a consultation for your child’s treatment. We can’t wait to hear from you, and we look forward to helping you and your child achieve beautiful, healthy smiles!