As a parent, we want to ensure our children have the best, especially when it comes to matters involving their wellbeing and health. It is not uncommon for children to need orthodontic treatments as they enter the adolescence stage. One of the most common orthodontic treatments that most children need nowadays is wearing braces to ensure proper alignment of their teeth as they grow up.

Wearing braces is a vital milestone or step that can give your child a lifetime of admirable dental and oral health. However, to know that your child needs braces is not a straightforward issue, as many people assume. To understand whether or not your child is the ideal candidate for this orthodontic treatment procedure, you should consult a pediatric dentist or orthodontist.

The issue of children braces is a confusing dental health topic for most parents. Hence most parents retain the services of a dentist to keep track of their children's dental health and dentition to prevent any possible complications in their adult life. This article will give you more insight on what to do if your child needs braces.

What Do I Need to Know About Braces?

Although braces are more effective in children, adults do also need them at some point in their lives. Typically, braces are custom-made wire-based dental appliances or devices that a dentist uses to fix dental problems like teeth misalignment.

Apart from improving your teeth' alignment, wearing braces also improves your dental health and hygiene. Wearing braces placement is a worthy step that can prevent most adult dental health issues that we battle daily, for example, tooth decay or periodontitis.

Even if you are a dentist, it would be challenging to diagnose your child's dental and orthodontic issues on your own if this is not your area of expertise. Hence, it is wise to retain the services of a dentist specializing in this area of dentistry to take a look at your child’s detention and dental health to ensure he/she is not at risk of any potential orthodontic issue.

Scheduling frequent appointments with a dentist to examine your child's dental health and teething behavior is the best step you could take to protect him/her from any possible orthodontic or dental health issues down the road. Frequent dental and oral examinations make it possible to detect early signs of orthodontic problems in your child for early treatment.

Since children are not young adults, you should take your time to find a pediatric dentist who understands how to deal with children for the best services.

Signs and Symptoms to Help You Know if Your Child is the Ideal Candidate for Braces Placement

There are several indicators and signs that your child may benefit from wearing braces. Even though some of these signs might be noticeable with an untrained eye, it is vital to visit a dentist to see what you cannot see with your untrained eyes because most orthodontic problems require early intervention.

Generally, discussed below are some of the most prevalent indicators that your child is likely to need braces:

Prolonged Thumb Sucking

One of the indicators that your child may need braces is prolonged thumb sucking. Although thumb sucking is a normal behavior in children, it can result in dental health repercussions later in their life. Typically, most children will stop sucking their thumbs by the age of three to five years.

Frequent and vigorous thumb-sucking past this age can affect the normal development of their teeth and jaw, leading to teeth misalignment or bite issues. Therefore, if your child continues to suck his/her thumb past the age of five years, you should take the necessary steps possible to make him/her quit this unhealthy habit.

To fix some of these dental health issues, the dentist may recommend braces placement on your child's teeth.

Crooked or Crowded Teeth

Having crooked or crowded teeth is what comes to mind when most people think of braces. Undoubtedly, crooked/crowded teeth are one of the primary reasons causing the need for braces placement in children.

As the name suggests, teeth crowding occurs if your child lacks sufficient space in his/her mouth to accommodate the erupting or emerging permanent teeth. When left untreated, teeth crowding can worsen over time and even expose your child to other dental health issues like cavities and decay.

Cavities and decay are prevalent among people with crowded or crooked teeth because it is challenging to brush and floss in between these teeth to maintain top-notch dental health. To correct this dental issue and keep possible bacteria invasion at bay, a dentist will recommend braces placement as soon as possible.

Wearing braces allows your child's teeth to grow back into their ideal position over time for a perfect and appealing smile that he/she deserves.

Abnormal Bites

Another reason why most children wear braces nowadays is the issue of abnormal bites. An abnormal bite or an occlusion occurs when your child's lower jaw teeth do not fit or align with teeth in his/her upper jaw, causing teeth misalignment.

Typically, if your child has any of the following types of abnormal bites, you should schedule an appointment with a dentist for braces placement as soon as possible:

  • Crossbite

A crossbite occurs when your child's upper front teeth (milk teeth) grow slightly inside or behind their opposing lower teeth. A crossbite issue is noticeable when your child's mouth is at rest and his/her teeth cannot bite or align together in their correct ideal position. When you leave a crossbite issue untreated, your child might be at risk of other dental health issues down the road, for example:

  • Excessive teeth wear and fractures.
  • Increased gum recession
  • Abnormal jaw growth


  • Overbite

As the name suggests, an overbite occurs when your child's upper teeth overlap the lower teeth vertically and horizontally. The severity of this issue can vary but is more noticeable when your child's front teeth are sticking out or protruding much farther than the opposing lower jaw teeth.

Like a crossbite, when you leave this issue untreated, your child could be at risk of other significant health complications down the road, for example:

  • Increased trauma on his/her front teeth
  • Mouth breathing
  • Possible jaw pain


  • Open Bite

An open bite is also a common abnormal bite issue among children where the bottom and upper teeth do not bite or come together in their correct position when the mouth is at rest. In an ideal world, people expect your child's upper and lower teeth to match up perfectly when he/she closes his/her mouth.

Although, in most cases, an open bite may not require medical intervention, taking your child to an orthodontist to examine this issue is a wise idea to avoid any possible future complications, like a speech problem.

  • Underbite

Typically, an underbite is the opposite of the overbite issues discussed above. An underbite issue makes your child's lower teeth stick out slightly far beyond the upper teeth. Like other abnormal bite issues, when your child's bottom teeth overlap his/her upper teeth, he/she will be at risk of other complications in the future if this issue remains untreated, for example:

  • Difficulty chewing or biting foods
  • Accolated facial aging
  • Tooth wear

To fix or correct any abnormal bite issues, your child's dentist will recommend braces placement to re-adjust the affected teeth into their ideal position over time. Being aware of these common abnormal bite issues can help you identify or know when your child needs braces to improve his/her teeth alignment issues.

Breathing Through the Mouth

Breathing is necessary to give the body the oxygen it needs for survival and release carbon dioxide. Although mouth breathing is not an abnormal issue, doing so all the time, especially when you are asleep, can lead to some complications. In children, using the mouth to breathe will increase the likelihood of developing crooked teeth and facial deformities because a child's mouth stays open most of the time.

Often, the cause of mouth breathing among children is the incapability of the tongue to sit or rest on the mouth's roof, which makes a child develop abnormally longer face and narrow jaws without adequate space to accommodate erupting teeth. If your child is a mouth-breather, you will notice the following symptoms:

  • Cracked lips
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Slower growth rate
  • Large tonsils
  • Irritability
  • Snoring

If you notice any of the above symptoms with your child, you should consult a dentist or orthodontist as soon as possible for appropriate treatment of the issue. Due to the narrow jaws and inadequate space to accommodate emerging teeth, placement of braces could work out in his/her favor to correct the issue of overtime.

Difficulties in Biting or Chewing Food

If your child is battling difficulties in biting or chewing food, you should consult a dentist because he/she might have a jaw or teeth misalignment issue that requires immediate attention. Misaligned teeth or jaws can affect your child's ability to chew and eat food comfortably like other children because of frequent accidental bites on the tongue and other soft tissues of the mouth.

Sometimes teeth or jaw misalignment is a subtle issue that you cannot see with your untrained eyes. Even if you are doing your best to give your child a healthy life and the perfect smile that he or she deserves, correcting this issue will require the expertise of a dentist.

Placement of braces is the most common and effective treatment method your child's dentist will recommend to correct this orthodontic issue.

Delayed Eruption of Permanent Adult Teeth

For some children, adult or permanent teeth can take time to erupt. If this is the case with your child, wearing braces is recommendable to prevent any possible complications down the road. Wearing braces holds your child's teeth into their ideal spot in the mouth before the remaining adult or permanent teeth eruption.

That means the unerupted adult teeth will have sufficient space to grow into their ideal position in the mouth without unnecessary interference by the adjacent erupted teeth. Apart from creating room for unerupted adult teeth, braces can also straighten any teeth that might be imperfect or crooked.

Speech Difficulties

When you notice your child is experiencing difficulties in speech or perhaps pronouncing particular words, you should consider scheduling an appointment with a dentist for examination. Speech problems with your child could be due to several issues, but mostly it is just an orthodontic problem like misaligned teeth.

Luckily, it is possible to fix an issue of misaligned teeth with braces to improve your child's speech and confidence to speak publicly. By wearing braces, your child's teeth and jaw can be repositioned and realigned back in their ideal spot over time to give him/her a clear speech that he/she deserves.

Spaced or Gapped Teeth

Spaced teeth issues in children could be genetic or perhaps due to frequent and vigorous thumb sucking. Regardless of the cause of this orthodontic problem in your child, it is wise to seek advice from a dentist to know the steps you can take to ensure your child has an admirable smile with well-gapped teeth.

The spaces in between your child's teeth may seem small, but they can make him/her feel self-conscious about his/her smile. Apart from the detrimental effect on your child's confidence, spaced teeth can also affect your child's oral hygiene because these gaps can trap food, which creates an excellent environment for bacteria to thrive.

Luckily, there are several treatment options for fixing the issue of spaced teeth among children. Wearing braces is one of the most common and effective orthodontic treatment procedures for aligning spaced teeth among children as they grow up.

If left unchecked or untreated, spaced teeth can weaken your child's teeth and gums, causing other oral health complications like tooth decay or periodontitis.

Early or Irregular Loss of Baby Teeth

Early or too late loss of baby teeth is an abnormal pattern that can affect how your child’s permanent teeth will erupt. Hence, it is wise to monitor your child's teething process and how his/her baby teeth fall out. If your child has an irregular loss of baby teeth, wearing braces could work out in his/her favor to prevent any potential teeth alignment or spacing issues later in life.

Although some children have obvious dental issues like spaced or crowded teeth needing orthodontic treatment, others may have underlying dental issues that you cannot detect with untrained eyes. Introducing your child to regular dental and oral check-ups by a dentist is the only way to detect any potential orthodontic problem for appropriate treatment as soon as possible.

Generally, if your child is seven years old, you should consider scheduling your first consultation with a dentist to determine whether he/she may need braces or not. Early detection and treatment of any orthodontic problem in your child can boost his/her confidence and the aesthetic appearance of his/her smile.

Since there are several different types of braces, you should discuss this issue with your orthodontist or dentist to know what type will work out best for your child if he/she is an excellent candidate for this orthodontic treatment procedure.

How to Find a Dependable Dentist for Your Child's Regular Dental Exam and Check-up

It is better to consult a dentist early than later once you notice any sign that your child might need braces to improve his/her teeth alignment and smile. Since dealing with children is not the same as dealing with adults, you should take ample time to find a dependable dentist for your child's regular dental exam and check-ups to keep orthodontic problems at bay.

Introducing your child to frequent dental visits while he/she is young is vital to make him/her understand why it is important to protect his/her dental and oral health. Listed below are factors you cannot overlook when finding a reliable pediatric dentist for your child:

  • Pay attention to the courteousness and friendliness of your prospective dentist
  • Consider your prospective dentist cost of services
  • Check out your prospective dentist reviews by past clients on his/her website and social media profiles
  • Seek recommendations from colleagues, family, and other parents
  • Consider the location of your prospective dentist
  • Consider the experience and qualifications of your prospective dentist
  • Look for a licensed dentist

Find a Hawthorne Dentist Near Me

Watching out for any of the above signs and symptoms is the best way to know if your child needs braces or not. If you are unsure whether your child needs braces or not, experienced and caring dentists at Ganji Dental are here for you.

We can assist you in diagnosing any potential dental issue early in your son or daughter during regular dental exams and check-ups for an appropriate treatment to fix the problem and protect his/her dental health. Call us at 310-643-8045 to schedule your first free consultation with our friendly pediatric dentists wherever you are in Hawthorne, California.