There are a lot of things parents need to watch out for but dental issues often escape their notice. As long as your child’s teeth appear healthy and aren’t causing them pain, you may not think about what more you can do to help care for them. However, there are many treatments that can help make your child’s oral health the best it can be. Braces are one of those treatments. About 4 million Americans currently wear braces, so there’s a high likelihood that your child may need them. Here are a few signs it might be time for a trip to the orthodontist.

A Guide to Knowing if Your Child Needs Braces

  1. Losing baby teeth early, late, or irregularly
  2. Pain or problems biting and chewing
  3. Mouth breathing or snoring
  4. Sucking on fingers or thumbs
  5. Teeth that are crowded, misplaced, or blocked-out
  6. Protruding, recessed, shifting, or painful jaws
  7. Jaws that make noises like popping or cracking
  8. Repeatedly biting cheeks or the roof of the mouth
  9. Teeth that meet abnormally or not at all
  10. Jaws or teeth that are out of proportion

If you have a teen or young adult struggling with orthodontic issues and self-esteem, Invisalign can be a great way to treat them. Not only will they feel better about themselves as their smile is corrected, but Invisalign has a 96% satisfaction rate. Other options besides regular braces include ceramic braces, which are often clear to make them less noticeable. Your child can also get braces that go on the backside of your teeth rather than the front, but they cannot correct certain issues and tend to be more expensive.

If your child’s self-esteem could benefit from a beautiful smile or they’re showing any of the signs above, you should take them to see an orthodontist as soon as possible. The sooner an orthodontist can begin dental work, the easier it will be and the better results your child will have. Ideally, your child should begin their orthodontic treatment at around age seven. Regular checkups with your family dentist can help you discover any problems sooner rather than later.

When your child starts orthodontic treatments, make sure they keep with their regular dental health habits and properly adjust them to accommodate braces. Teach your child how to brush around the brackets and wires and how to floss around them as well. Many people assume that flossing just cleans between the teeth, but it actually clears the teeth of bacteria that cause infections in the gums. If your child’s gums are bleeding when they brush or floss, it’s not because they’re digging into them with the floss or brush, it’s because they are infected and need to be cleaned more often to clear the infection. Regularly using mouthwash, flossing, and brushing can keep your kid’s mouth healthy.

A smile is an important part of everyone’s appearance and experiencing pain or discomfort because of your teeth can be detrimental to your life. Be sure to get regular dental checkups for the whole family and start orthodontic treatment early to prevent problems from worsening.