Think back to the last birthday party you hosted for your middle school-aged child. Chances are, as you scroll through the photos on your phone, nearly every child was wearing braces — including the birthday boy or girl.
In many ways wearing dental braces has become a childhood rite of passage, which include those special moments like learning to tie their shoes by themselves and taking training wheels off their bicycles.
Remarkably, at any given time in the United States, an estimated 4 million children and adults wear braces, and for good reason. About half of the population around the world has crooked teeth, which is one of the most common reasons for getting braces. In fact, crooked teeth are so common that you may want to minimize the issue as being no big deal and wonder if getting braces is really necessary.
After all, won’t crooked teeth straighten out on their own? While every case is unique, although crooked teeth may straighten slightly as a child’s jaw size grows, in most cases, it’s not enough to forgo needed orthodontic treatment, says our own Dr. Pendleton. In this blog, he shares his insights on crooked teeth and how you can help your child get straight, healthy, beautiful teeth that will keep them smiling for a lifetime.
Importance of properly aligned teeth
Let’s set the stage for this discussion by addressing why proper teeth alignment is important in the first place. Spoiler alert! It’s not just because straight teeth are aesthetically pleasing.
An aligned bite allows you to chew your food properly while enhancing your ability to keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy. Adversely, when you suffer from bite issues, it may also contribute to breathing issues or conditions like snoring, sleep apnea, or even the ability to speak clearly.
Makes it easier to brush and floss properly
When your teeth are crooked, it creates an obstacle course that makes it harder for you to reach and properly clean all the surfaces of your teeth. Brushing and flossing often become a chore of ineffectiveness. When your teeth are correctly aligned, it’s much easier to access all the teeth surfaces and between them to keep them clean and healthy.
Reduces the risk of gum disease and cavities
Similarly, more effective at-home oral hygiene not only helps wash away food debris and keep your teeth clean but also keeps plaque build-up in check, reducing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Straighter teeth make it easy for you to maintain a healthy smile.
Makes it easier to bite and speak properly
In addition to its role in helping your child properly clean and care for their teeth, there’s a practical, mechanical advantage to having straighter teeth. Misaligned teeth alter how the upper and lower jaw come together, making it difficult to bite and chew food correctly. But the effects don’t stop there. Speaking clearly without lisping or making whistling sounds is also linked with properly aligned teeth.
Schedule an initial orthodontic evaluation
Like most things related to your kid’s health, checking out potential small issues before they become bigger ones also applies in orthodontics. At about age seven, although their jaw is still growing, most children have enough permanent teeth to tell whether things like crowding or common bite issues are likely to be problems. The purpose of this evaluation is to start discussing whether treatment is recommended, a possible timeline, and specific treatment options.
Traditional braces and Invisalign fix most bite issues
Rest assured that if and when the time comes to tackle your child’s orthodontic issue, we’ll be there to guide you and your family through the progress. Here at Pendleton Orthodontics, we provide patients of all ages with a broad spectrum of superior orthodontic care.
We offer our patients traditional braces because we respect their proven track record for addressing simple, moderate, and, in some cases, complex bite issues. We also offer patients numerous customization options for traditional braces like the color and style of materials like brackets to match each patient’s style preferences.
For patients who want a more discrete orthodontic treatment option, we also offer Invisalign®, the industry’s most recognized brand of clear aligners. Whether our treatment plan is for traditional braces or Invisalign depends on the complexity of the condition we’re addressing and the patient’s ultimate orthodontic goal and preference.
If your child’s teeth are growing crooked and you’d like to learn more about orthodontic treatment options, contact Pendleton Orthodontics. Request an appointment online, call or text us at 512-355-7727 today.