Are Braces Right For You? How to Know When It’s Time To Get Braces
The need for braces to correct teeth misalignment is extremely common — in fact, people have looked for ways to fix their crooked teeth for centuries. Genetics, poor dental hygiene, and poor nutrition during a child’s infant or toddler stages can all play a part in causing a person to need braces. But how do you know if they are right for you or your child? Your dentist or orthodontist can answer that question for you, of course, but let’s take a look at a few things to watch out for that could signify a need for braces.
What Do Braces Do?
Braces are most commonly used to straighten teeth that are not in alignment. Crooked or crowded teeth can be realigned using traditional metal braces or, in some cases, invisible braces. Braces have been used (in some form) for more than 200 years, and rightly so — they have a high rate of success in straightening teeth and improving overall oral health.
Not only do braces give you a more attractive smile, they can provide other health benefits as well. Properly aligned teeth are easier to brush and floss, resulting in better oral hygiene and therefore a decreased risk of cavities or other dental issues. Correcting an orthodontic problem can also improve your ability to chew food effectively, resulting in better digestion, and can reduce the occurrence of jaw pain and headaches.
How to Tell If Your Child Needs Braces
Crooked or crowded baby teeth may indicate that your child will need braces in the future, but beyond that it can often be difficult to tell if it’s time to consider braces for your child. Here are some signs to watch for:
- They regularly breathe through their mouth
- Their jaws click, make other noise, or are recessed or protruding (this can signify a developmental issue with the teeth or jaw line)
- They are prone to accidentally biting their tongue, roof of their mouth, or inside of their cheek (indicating that teeth aren’t properly aligned)
- Thumb-sucking or using a pacifier beyond the age of 2
- Early or late loss of baby teeth (this can affect the way adult teeth grow and develop)
- Their permanent teeth are late in coming in
- Their teeth don’t come together when their mouth is shut
- They have missing or extra teeth
If you notice any of these symptoms, it may be time to bring your child in for their first orthodontist appointment.
Signs You May Need Braces As An Adult
While braces are most often prescribed during childhood or early adolescence, adults are getting braces more and more often — in fact, 20% of people with braces are adults. If for any reason it wasn’t possible for you to get braces as a child, it’s not too late: braces or other orthodontic treatment can still correct problems with your teeth or jaw and provide great benefit to your oral health.
If you experience any of the following, it may benefit you to schedule an orthodontic appointment:
- Teeth that are visibly crooked or crowded
- Difficulty flossing between or brushing around teeth
- Frequently biting your tongue or cutting your tongue on your teeth
- Your teeth don’t close over each other properly when you close your mouth
- Difficulty pronouncing certain sounds due to your tongue’s position
- Jaws that shift, click, or make other noises when you chew or when you first wake up in the morning
- Difficulty chewing, or jawline stress or fatigue after chewing
When to First See an Orthodontist
The specific condition will determine the right age to correct an orthodontic problem, but the American Academy of Orthodontics recommends that all children have their first orthodontist appointment around the age of 7. Even if they have no visible crowding or crooked teeth, it’s a good idea to have their teeth and jaw looked at to determine if braces or other orthodontia can benefit them. If the need for braces is identified, early treatment can often improve outcomes. As you age, your jaw continues to grow, which can increase crowding of teeth — in other words, the problem won’t improve on its own.
Most often, children get braces between the ages of 9 and 14, once they finish getting their permanent teeth. However, that age can vary depending on the problem – some are best treated earlier, others later. Your orthodontist can give you a diagnosis and help you determine the best course of treatment for your specific needs.
Falls Orthodontics is here to help you navigate the process of getting started with orthodontic treatment for yourself or your child. When you’re ready to schedule your first appointment, contact us here or give us a call at (715) 483-1505. We look forward to helping you achieve the beautiful, healthy smile you’ve always wanted!