For some children, their parents know from the day they get that first tooth that they’re going to need help straightening out that smile. For others, the signs aren’t so clear.

Here are some early indicators that your child may need orthodontic work:

Visual clues

  • Underbite (lower jaw protrudes past upper jaw)
  • Overbite (upper jaw protrudes past lower jaw)
  • Crowded teeth
  • Gaps between teeth
  • Extra or missing teeth
  • Upper and lower teeth don’t overlap correctly
  • Teeth that are crooked or angled incorrectly (for example, protruding forward out of the mouth)
  • Face appears unbalanced

 

Behavioral clues

  • Struggles to bite or chew
  • Thumb-sucking
  • Breathing through the mouth
  • Teeth grinding or clenching

 

Other possible clues

  • Baby teeth fall out too early
  • Baby teeth fall out too late
  • Dental disease
  • Accident involving teeth or jaws

If you notice some of these indicators, you may want to schedule a check-up with Dr. Appel—even if your child is still too young to get orthodontic work.

 

Why an early check-up may save trouble later

The good news is that identifying potential problems with your child’s teeth early can help you and your orthodontist head off problems before they get worse.

In some cases, an orthodontist can use small appliances to help guide the growth of the mouth and jaws. This creates a better environment so that adult teeth can come in straight—or it can at least minimize the time a child will need to be in braces.

For other children, Dr. Appel may take a “wait-and-see” approach. He may identify some potential problems with your child’s teeth or jaw growth that may or may not cause problems down the road. By checking your child’s teeth every few years, Dr. Appel can make sure things are progressing well. And if they’re not, the early checkups allow him to be ready to intervene at the best time to help your child’s smile.

 

Wondering whether your child may need braces? Call Appel Orthodontics to schedule a consultation. We want your child to have a smile everyone loves!

 

Information and photo courtesy of the American Association of Orthodontists

 

 

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