For most patients, the ideal time to start orthodontic treatment is either in middle school or high school during their teenage years. However, you may not be entirely sure if your teen even needs braces or Invisalign. To help you determine if your child might need treatment, here are some important signs to look out for.
1. Crooked Teeth
One of the easiest ways to tell if your teen needs orthodontic treatment is if their teeth are visibly crooked. They may already be expressing a desire to improve their smile as their social lives become more complex and they become more aware of their appearance. Even if they don’t bring up their crooked teeth, there are definitely other reasons to get braces or Invisalign that you should talk to them about.
There are lots of factors that contribute to having lots of cavities. But if your teen can’t seem to avoid needing fillings, it could be a sign they should improve their smile with braces or Invisalign. Having crooked teeth makes it easier for food to get trapped and harder to thoroughly clean them, creating a perfect storm for tooth decay. Getting braces or Invisalign straightens teeth and makes it much easier for teens to completely clean their teeth when they brush and floss.
3. Difficulties Eating and Speaking
Another consequence that can come from crooked teeth has to do with how the jaw functions. When teeth are misaligned, using them properly gets more difficult. This is why many kids have some difficulty eating and speaking properly before they get braces.
Problems like underbites, crossbites, open bites, and overbites also result in these types of problems due to an inability to properly bite down. Adding elastic bands to braces or Invisalign will help fix these issues.
4. Jaw Pain
If your teen often complains about jaw pain, it could be the result of jaw misalignment or crooked teeth. When the jaw isn’t positioned correctly, it puts a lot of stress on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which is the most used joint in the body.
Needless to say, putting extra stress on this joint can cause serious chronic pain. Crooked teeth can also unevenly distribute pressure between the teeth, causing a small number of teeth or small points on teeth to be subject to excessive pressure.
5. Mouth Breathing
Having bite problems related to jaw orientation or crooked teeth can make it uncomfortable for teens to breathe properly through the nose. Because of this, many teen patients breathe through their mouths while resting, which can increase tooth decay worse due to dryness in the mouth.
Braces and Invisalign can address this problem by straightening teeth and fixing issues like underbites and overbites.
If your teen is at the right age to start orthodontic treatment, you should keep an eye out for these signs and also pay attention to the recommendations of your dentist. And when you visit Smith Orthodontics for your free consultation, we can go over how braces or Invisalign can help improve your teen’s smile and overall dental health. Schedule your consultation today!