How to Know When Your Child Should See an Orthodontist

Our patients often ask Dr. Michael Chiang, our orthodontist in Missouri City, when to know if they should bring their child in for orthodontic work. They’re not sure if what is happening to their child’s teeth is a normal part of development or if it’s something that needs correction.

The fact is, sometimes a parent can’t tell if their child needs orthodontic treatment because the child’s teeth will look perfectly straight to them. Some signs that your child’s teeth or jaws are misaligned are subtle and can best be seen by a trained professional. For example, Dr. Chiang can order an X-ray to discover any teeth that haven’t erupted.

Ideally, it would be best if you took your child to see an orthodontist when their permanent teeth start to come in, which is when they’re about seven. Of course, you or your child can start seeing an orthodontist at any age, but the earlier problems are detected, the easier they are to correct.

Here are some signs that your child should see an orthodontist

If your child’s baby teeth come in unusually early, unusually late, or if they start to fall out before they should.

If your child has difficulty eating solid food, i.e. chewing and biting.

If they breathe through their mouth.

If they suck their thumb.

If you see that their teeth are missing, blocked out, or crowded.

If you hear a creaking sound from your child’s jaw.

If their jaw seems to shift or is too prominent or very recessive.

If the child often bites their cheek or even the top of their mouth. Everyone bites the inside of their cheek occasionally, but when it happens often it’s a sign of a problem.

If our child’s teeth are not aligned, it can mean they have an overbite or a noticeable underbite.

If the jaws and teeth are not proportional to your child’s face.

Dr. Michael Chiang at Brilliant Smiles Orthodontics

Why starting early orthodontics is beneficial for your child

An orthodontist who sees something that might be a problem in the future can start to monitor your child as they — and their teeth and jaws — continue to grow. Early treatment can make sure that your child’s jaw grows properly and can help your child establish good oral habits. Early treatment can also guide the child’s permanent teeth when they start to emerge, improve how their lips meet, improve the overall appearance of their face, and reduce the risk of damage to your child’s front teeth if they protrude.

Since every child is different, the way they’re treated is tailored to what they need and when they need it. Some children are fitted with braces to correct misaligned teeth when they’re as young as six years old, and an orthodontist can fit a baby with a cleft palate with an appliance even before their baby teeth erupt.

Though there are signs that you can see that will make you take your child to an orthodontist such as crowded or missing teeth, there are some problems that are so subtle or so hidden that you can miss them. That’s why you should take your child to our professionals at Brilliant Smiles Orthodontics starting when they’re as young as seven years old.