It’s no secret that most children are not born with a perfectly straight set of teeth or a perfectly aligned jaw. For most children, some form of orthodontic treatment might be necessary in order to correct misalignment issues or crooked teeth.
In fact, if your child gets away without experiencing orthodontics in their adolescent years, this is far rarer than those kids who have to get braces at some point in their lives.
But why are orthodontics for children so important anyway? Does having straight teeth matter that much to your oral health? Learn more in this blog.
Orthodontics for Children: How It Can Improve Oral Health
Orthodontics go far beyond a perfect, pretty smile. While so many people misconceive orthodontic treatment as strictly cosmetic, it’s far more important than that. Especially in your younger, formative years.
Here’s how orthodontics for kids can make all the difference to their oral health and overall wellbeing:
1. It Relieves Mouth Crowding
This is one of the most important reasons your child should have orthodontic treatment. Mouth crowding is especially common in children and adolescents, making it the most popular reason for getting braces, too.
So, what is mouth crowding? Well, it’s as simple as it sounds — there’s not enough room in the mouth so teeth start to move and grow closer together, crowding each other.
This may not sound like a dire issue, but as your child grows older, tooth crowding can become worse over time. Once tooth crowding becomes severe, it’s difficult to practice good oral hygiene on a daily basis. In other words, your child won’t be able to brush and floss between their teeth properly.
The result could be years of accumulated plaque, which could lead to major oral health issues such as:
- Tooth decay
- Gum disease
- Issues with bad breath
- Tooth loss
- Jaw bone infections
The good news is that tooth crowding is simple to resolve with braces. But the key is the make sure your child gets treatment early on in order to prevent any of the poor oral health side-effects that go with mouth crowding.
2. Orthodontics Correct Jaw Misalignments
No matter how straight your child’s teeth may look on the outside, they could still struggle with internal issues such as jaw misalignment. This is another very common and important reason for children to undergo orthodontic treatment.
An abnormal bite, caused by jaw misalignment comes in four different variations:
- An overbite
- Open bite
Most of the time, you can tell if your child has a bite problem when their jaw or mouth is closed. Abnormal bites in children can lead to a host of oral and general health issues later on down the line if they’re not corrected.
A child with an overbite has front teeth that overlap the bottom teeth, both vertically and horizontally. In some cases, an overbite can be so severe that a child may not be able to close their mouth fully, with lips touching. Overbites are generally the most noticeable kind of bite issue.
If an overbite is not treated, this can only increase the risk of trauma or damage to the front teeth during childhood or adolescence. Fractured, broken, or missing adult front teeth are expensive and painful to fix or replace.
An overbite can also make mouth breathing difficult which could lead to respiratory issues. As well as bad breath, and a deep sense of self-consciousness.
A child with an underbite has upper front teeth that sit behind their lower front teeth. Their bottom teeth tend to protrude more so than their upper teeth — almost the opposite of an overbite.
If an underbite is not treated when a child is young, this can reduce the longevity of the teeth. It can also lead to issues with restorative treatments such as dental fillings and crowns in later life.
Not only this, but an untreated underbite can cause an imbalanced facial appearance. It can also speed up facial aging, and impact the ability to bite and chew foods.
A child with a crossbite has one or more upper front teeth that sit behind or below the opposing bottom front teeth. In other words, the teeth do not line up correctly when the jaw is closed.
An untreated crossbite can lead to premature wear and tear of the teeth. It can also cause teeth fracturing, gum recession as your child ages, as well as abnormal jaw growth, which can lead to jaw issues later on in life.
The Open Bite
If a child has an open bite, this means that their upper and lower front teeth do not meet or touch when the jaw closes. It’s important to treat an open bite as this can lead to speech difficulties, such as a lisp, as well as bite and jaw alignment issues later on down the line.
3. Orthodontics Can Reduce Tooth Grinding and Clenching
Another common symptom of jaw misalignment, bite issues, or crowded teeth is tooth grinding and clenching — also known as bruxism.
Tooth grinding is an unhealthy habit that your child might not be able to control due to the layout of their teeth or jaw. It can impact oral health by prematurely wearing down the teeth, causing long-term damage.
With the right orthodontic treatment, you can re-align the jaw and teeth to resolve issues of clenching or bruxism.
4. It Can Improve Overall Self-Esteem
When your child enters their adolescent years they’re starting to become more aware of their appearance and how they look to others. This is where orthodontic treatment can really help to improve your child’s sense of self and overall confidence.
By correcting jaw and bite issues, and straightening out their teeth, they can feel satisfied with their smile. This allows your child can carry themselves with confidence into their adult years.
Find Early Orthodontic Treatment Just a Click Away
If you’re looking for orthodontics for children, also known as phase one, or early orthodontics, you’re in the right place! With Koerich & Case Orthodontics, we offer tailored, specialized treatment to suit every child’s unique case.
Learn more about the orthodontic braces and Invisalign treatments we have on offer, right here.