The next topic in our blog series is a very common one: does my child needs braces? There isn’t a simple “yes or no” to this question. Instead, the answer is based on the growth and development of your child’s teeth and jaws. Many problems that require braces are genetic. That means your child didn’t do anything to cause them – they simply inherited them.
One of the advantages that comes with seeing a pediatric dentist is that we are specially trained to look for red flags in your child’s mouth that would lead to he/she needing braces. This is something we evaluate at your child’s six-month checkup. If we see any indications that you need to make an appointment for an evaluation with an orthodontist, we’ll let you know at your child’s routine visit.
Common Reasons Kids Need Braces
If you’re wondering about some of the common reasons kids need braces, here’s a list from the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO):
- Extra or missing teeth
- Jaw growth problems
- Thumb- or finger sucking
- Dental disease
- Early or late loss of baby (primary) teeth
Thumb Sucking and Braces
Another question related to braces is thumb sucking. Many parents worry that their child’s habit of thumb sucking will lead to braces down the road. While it is true that kids who suck their thumb for many years can develop dental issues, the majority of children give up the habit on their own between the ages of two and four. If your child is hanging on to the habit, tell us at your checkup. We’ll share strategies with you to help break the habit before any problems develop.
From thumb sucking to crowded teeth, rest assured we will let you know if we see any issues that indicate a trip to the orthodontist is in your child’s future. Our goal is to partner with you to help your child have a healthy, happy smile for life.