Common Orthodontic Issues in Children: 4 Signs to Watch Out For

Parents, we know you want the best for your child! Whether your child still has a smile full of baby teeth, or their permanent teeth have made an appearance, you’ve probably wondered, “How do I know if my child needs braces?”

It can be tricky to identify orthodontic problems on your own, before you get a professional (free) orthodontic exam! Your team at Matsumoto Orthodontics & Periodontics is here to help you acclimate to the world of orthodontics.  

Here are some of the most common telltale signs you need braces, BRIUS® or Invisalign® clear aligners! 

1. Crowded or crooked teeth

Crooked teeth and crowded teeth are two of the easiest orthodontic conditions to identify. If you notice that your child has teeth that are overlapping each other, growing at an angle, or positioned outside of the alignment of surrounding teeth, this indicates a need for orthodontic treatment. 

When teeth aren’t in alignment, it can be particularly difficult for children to brush and floss around each tooth thoroughly, which can increase the risk of cavities (tooth decay) and gum disease. Crooked/crowded teeth can also affect your child’s self-esteem and confidence!

Signs to watch out for

  • Teeth that appear crowded or overlapping
  • Difficulty biting or chewing food
  • Difficulty speaking or pronouncing certain words
  • Lack of confidence when smiling

2. Overbite or underbite

Children whose jaw bones are not aligned may have an overbite or underbite condition. An overbite occurs when the upper front teeth overlap the lower front teeth excessively. This causes the upper teeth to hang over the lower teeth, making the chin and lower jaw bone appear recessed. 

The opposite of an overbite, an underbite occurs when the lower front teeth protrude past the upper front teeth. This causes the lower jaw bone to jut forward, and the upper teeth may sit inside of the lower teeth when the mouth is closed.

Both types of malocclusions (misalignments) can cause problems with chewing and speaking, jaw bone development, facial symmetry and proportion, and affect the overall appearance of the smile.

Signs to watch out for

  • Teeth that appear to be sticking out or protruding
  • Difficulty biting or chewing food
  • Difficulty speaking or pronouncing certain words
  • Recessed chin
  • Lack of confidence when smiling

3. Crossbite

A crossbite occurs when the upper teeth bite inside the lower teeth toward the back of the mouth, causing an improper alignment of the jaw. This can lead to jaw pain and discomfort, as well as premature wear and tear on the teeth.

Signs to watch out for

  • Difficulty biting or chewing food
  • Grinding or clenching of teeth
  • Jaw pain or discomfort

4. Spacing issues

Spacing issues occur when there are gaps between the teeth. This may be caused by a missing tooth, missing teeth, or teeth that are too small in proportion to the jaw bone. 

Spacing issues can impact the appearance of the smile and make it difficult to properly clean between the teeth, leading to an increased risk of tooth decay (cavities) and gum disease. Gaps and irregular spacing can also have a significant impact on your child’s self-esteem and confidence.

Signs to watch out for

  • Gaps between the teeth
  • Difficulty chewing food
  • Food getting stuck between the teeth
  • Lack of confidence when smiling

What do I do if I notice these signs in my child?

Fortunately, all of these conditions can be treated with orthodontics, or braces for kids! If you notice any of these signs in your child, we encourage you to request a complimentary consultation with us. 

Early intervention can prevent more serious orthodontic issues from developing and can ensure that your child’s teeth and jaws develop properly. 

We offer free consultations, because we want you and your child to get answers from a professional – with no risk and no cost. Our experienced orthodontist, Dr. Matsumoto, will perform a full orthodontic exam, including a physical assessment, a CBCT scan, digital impressions and diagnostic photos, to get the full picture of your child’s smile.

Personalized treatment plans for kids

If your orthodontist determines that your child needs or would benefit from orthodontics, we’ll help you determine the right treatment route for your child’s case.

At Matsumoto Orthodontics & Periodontics, we create personalized treatment plans on a case-by-case basis, because every patient is different! We may suggest advanced BRIUS (truly invisible) braces, self-ligating braces (metal or clear), Invisalign®, and/or an orthodontic appliance (like a palatal expander) before or during treatment. 

We’ll help your child smile with confidence for a lifetime. Request a complimentary consultation at our orthodontist office in Wilmington, NC, at Porters Neck today!

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