With a Beautiful Smile, Braces Improve Dental Health

When your child becomes an adolescent, you may think that a trip to an orthodontist is inevitable. For a young person, getting braces is about having straight teeth and a beautiful smile. But as a parent, you know that while a great smile is certainly a benefit, wearing braces is also an important part of dental care.

Every part of the mouth is supposed to fit together to serve the purpose it’s intended to fulfill. Upper teeth prevent biting the cheeks and lips while lower teeth protect the tongue. But when teeth don’t fit in just the right way, a dental condition known as malocclusion, or misalignment of teeth, is often to blame.


Causes Vary

What causes teeth to become misaligned? Often, genetics play a role, or the upper and lower jaws aren’t the same size. The size of your child’s teeth may be out of sync with their jaw, which causes overcrowding and overlapping teeth. The reasons range widely from birth defects such as cleft palates to more common, simpler situations such as thumb sucking or prolonged use of pacifiers and baby bottles, according to MedlinePlus. If your child loses their baby teeth earlier or later than normal, that may also cause their permanent teeth to come in crooked.

You may not think so, but tooth loss or injury is another reason why malocclusion takes place. If a tooth is knocked out or has to be removed because of severe tooth decay, the adjacent teeth will tend to drift out of place. That’s why children are encouraged to wear mouthguards when they play sports.

It’s only natural for you to want your children to have straight, healthy teeth, but you’ll have to face the significant expense – often several thousand dollars – ofgetting them braces. Without dental insurance, that can be a major dilemma. One affordable alternative to consider is a Discount Dental Plan, which provides dental services at greatly reduced prices.


The Next Step

Although there have been great strides made in orthodontic dentistry for adults, it’s still best to address crooked teeth – both overbites and underbites – when your child reaches puberty because their facial bones are still developing, according to theAmerican Academy of Pediatrics.

It’s especially important for you to consult with your family dentist if your children experience symptoms that indicate their teeth are significantly misaligned. These may include difficulty or pain when they bite or chew, breathing through the mouth without closing their lips or speech problems, such as a lisp.

When your family is making regular visits to the dentist, these conditions will most likely be determined during a regular check-up. A referral to an orthodontist for treatment may be necessary.

Treatment will often start with dental and skull x-rays, followed by taking molds of the teeth to determine the extent of the condition. Frequently, in overcrowded mouths, some teeth may have to be removed as part of the realignment process. Irregular teeth can be adjusted, reshaped or capped.


Dental Hygiene

Plan on having your child wearing braces for as long as two years, as it’s the norm in most cases, but it depends on how misaligned their teeth are. In some instances, teeth can be realigned with the use of invisible braces, which are especially popular with adults who want to fix their overbite without wearing traditional braces.

As with any dental work that your child may undergo, the need for ongoing oral hygiene is more important than ever. Cleaning and flossing may be difficult to maneuver around braces, but teach your kids to be patient- it will be worth the effort in the long run. By sticking with their regular dental care, they can prevent tooth decay and gum inflammation.


Are you the parent of a child with braces? Do you have any tips for parents in the beginning stages of orthodontic procedures with their children? Leave us a comment below!

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