Every child and teenager dreads the day that their orthodontist recommends they get braces. While it may seem that braces are purely for cosmetic purposes, they actually do much more than just straighten your teeth!
Jaws that are misaligned (called overbites and underbites) can cause extra wear and tear on your teeth and jaw, while teeth that are overcrowded can make brushing and flossing a chore. Teeth and bites that are misaligned can cause problems down the road, making it difficult to install bridges, crowns, or implants in the future, and can even make them not last as long. Braces seek to solve these issues by evening out the top and bottom jaw, spacing out teeth that are too close, and bringing together teeth that are too far apart.
How to Know If You or Your Child Will Need Braces
Your orthodontist will typically be the one to recommend braces for your child. Children usually begin wearing braces between the ages of 10 and 14, but braces can also be recommended for teenagers and even adults. Some issues that your orthodontist will be on the lookout for include:
- An overbite or an underbite, or jaws that don’t meet at all
- Teeth that are too crowded together
- Teeth that are spaced too far apart
- A history of baby teeth falling out too early, too late, or irregularly
- Difficulty biting and chewing, or biting the cheek or roof of the mouth
- Jaws that click, shift, or make sounds
While traditional braces are still chosen by many people, Invisalign is another great, less “embarrassing” option. The Invisalign treatment consists of clear retainers that are molded to the shape of your own teeth that are switched out every few weeks. Invisalign aligners are worn all day and night, and should be taken out to eat and brush your teeth. Because they are much more discreet and allow for more flexibility, Invisalign trays are a popular option with teens and adults.