These days getting braces almost seems like a rite of passage into adolescence. But braces aren’t cheap, and they can be a nuisance to take care of, so this has parents everywhere asking one important question: Does my child really need braces?

While ultimately this is up to you and your dentist, here are the top 3 reasons your child should/could get braces.

1. Overcrowded Teeth

Often seen more in the bottom teeth, overcrowded teeth is the most common orthodontic issue. Teeth overcrowding happens when a child’s jaw isn’t big enough to hold all of his or her teeth. A dentist will start to see signs of this once a child’s permanent teeth begin to come in, around age seven, and will refer you to an orthodontist if necessary. Besides causing a crooked smile, overcrowded teeth can make it harder to clean in between teeth and can increase the risk of cavities and gingivitis.

2. Malocclusions

Malocclusion is just a fancy word for an irregular bite, such as an overbite (when the upper jaw is bigger than the lower jaw) or the less common underbite (when the lower jaw is bigger than the upper jaw). Sometimes malocclusions are so minor that there is no need for treatment. However, many times braces will be recommended to correct a child’s bite in order to prevent future issues such as jaw pain and tooth damage. Your child’s dentist will be your first line of defense when it comes to diagnosing a serious malocclusion and will be able to walk you through your options.

3. Cosmetic

Believe it or not, cosmetic reasons are arguably the most common explanation for why a child gets braces. When parents begin to worry that their child is becoming self-conscious about his or her crooked teeth, many go ahead and have braces put on them while so many of their peers also have braces. This is a decision that should be made between you and your child, but there is no doubt that one of the benefits of braces is that they create a beautiful, confident smile.

The long and expensive journey of getting your child braces can feel daunting, so knowing all your options will help make it less overwhelming. Most experts agree that if a person needs braces, it is best to get them in childhood while the mouth and head are still growing, so considering braces for your child now is ideal. If you have questions or concerns about your child needing braces, we at Cornerstone Family Dentistry would love to talk with you and answer any questions you have.

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