People develop a possible need for braces at different stages of life and for different reasons. In your case, perhaps a longstanding dental alignment error has started to affect your bite, or perhaps you see signs that your child might require braces at some point. The sooner you can recognize this potential need the more effectively our Richardson orthodontist, Dr. Fleming, can tame those errant teeth.
Why Do People Wear Braces?
An estimated four million Americans
wear braces, with adults making up one-quarter of that total. Braces correct the position and/or alignment of permanent teeth. People receive braces to treat one of the following dental challenges:
- A misalignment such as an overbite or underbite, in which the top front teeth sit behind or in front of the lower front teeth when the jaws come together
- A lateral misalignment that prevents the teeth’s chewing surfaces from making normal contact
- Teeth that crowd together and make dental hygiene difficult
- Unsightly gaps between teeth
- Crooked teeth
- Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), with joint strain and jaw pain related to a bite misalignment
Signs That You or Your Child May Need Braces
You might see an obvious need for braces if gapped or crooked teeth cause you public embarrassment. However, functional trouble signs can also signal more subtle dental issues that call for braces. For instance, if your jaws always feel tired after you eat and/or you hear popping or cracking noises when you move your jaw, you may need TMJ-related orthodontic care. Trouble flossing, repeated injuries to your tongue, and pronunciation problems may also point to alignment errors that need correcting.
You can’t necessarily tell whether your child’s permanent teeth will grow in straight until they erupt. However, crowded or crooked baby teeth may represent a preview of things to come. Other signs to watch for in your child include upper and lower teeth that don’t meet properly, mouth breathing, and habitual thumb or pacifier sucking.
Getting Confirmation From the Orthodontist
Orthodontists recommend a screening for children by age seven
to evaluate any future need for braces. In both children and adults, a combination of X-ray imaging, photographs, and models of the teeth can help determine whether you or your child might need braces.
Content found on this blog is intended for educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional judgement, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please speak with a professional if you have concerns about your oral health.