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Does My Child Need Braces?

Those baby teeth are falling like leaves off trees and you really don’t like what you’re seeing now that your child’s permanent teeth are developing.  Malocclusion or “bad bite” occurs when the teeth are not properly aligned. Often heredity, if you had braces because of malocclusion, probably your child will need them, too. Listed below are some additional reasons why your dentist may suggest it’s time to consult an orthodontist:

  • Overcrowding of teeth. The average adult has between 28 and 32 teeth depending on when and if their wisdom teeth come in. But many people don’t have the required mouth space to accommodate all those teeth. Generally when this occurs a specific number of teeth are removed and braces added to straighten the remaining teeth.
  • Ill-fitting teeth. When the upper jaw overlaps the lower, you have an overbite. Then when the lower jaw is larger, you have an underbite. Malocclusion can cause discomfort when biting or chewing, mouth breathing and speech impediments. Using braces to correct the bite can eliminate strain on the teeth, jaws and surrounding muscles and reduce the symptoms of TMJ as the patient ages.
  • If a child is allowed to suck their thumb or has yet been weaned off a bottle after the age of three chances are braces will be in their future. The American Dental Association has determined thumb sucking is generally acceptable until a child reaches the age when their permanent teeth begin to come in. By continuing this habit, often the front teeth will protrude, resulting in “buck teeth.”
  • Less common reasons for braces, especially in children, can be misaligned teeth caused by mouth tumors or because of a broken jaw.

Concerned about your child’s teeth? Please call 314.965.1334 and schedule an appointment today with Dr. Ellis to determine the next step.