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If you haven’t the big life mistake of having kids yet, you’re off the hook. You don’t need to read this!

But if you have, then welcome to the club.

As parents, we have a lot on our plates. Literally. Somehow the kids always manage to sneak their uneaten broccoli onto our plates, every time.

Besides making sure they get to school on time and get enough exercise, you have a lot going on. And when it comes to taking care of your child’s teeth, you do your best to make sure that they brush and floss every day, twice a day. You always make sure that they eat right, and avoid sugary drinks and sticky candy. We commend you for that – it’s not easy!

We take a lot of precautions to make sure our kids are healthy and on their way to bright futures. And when a dentist suggests that it might be time for your child to see an orthodontist, it is usually because your child is displaying the signs of future orthodontic problems. Tackling these issues early is key to preventing them from getting much worse.

Some of these problems that your dentist is looking out for are:

1. Lots of Teeth, Not Enough Space

Also known as crowding! This is the most common reason for seeking orthodontic treatment – when there is not enough space in your child’s mouth for all of their teeth. Many parents and their children get braces because of this condition since crowding will only get worse over time and often result in crooked teeth. Which brings us to our next point…

2. Crooked Teeth

Severely crooked teeth can make it more complicated, and sometimes even impossible, to clean all areas of your teeth. Crooked teeth as a result of crowding can get much worse over time, and if your child is not able to brush and floss properly, they may develop plaque, cavities, tooth decay, bad breath, and gum disease.

Dr. Dan is one of our orthodontist friends at Showtime Smiles, a dental office in McKinney, and he believes one of the reasons why you should see an orthodontist is that it’s difficult to see underlying structural problems with your teeth without professional help. Orthodontists have x-rays and other technology to check whether your crooked teeth could cause serious health problems later on or if they’re simply crooked teeth.

3. Difficulty Chewing or Biting

If your child has trouble chewing or biting, that is a key sign that they might need orthodontic treatment. Orthodontists also look out for bite issues. These include: overbites, underbites, and openbites.

An overbite is noticeable pretty early on. When combined with larger front teeth, an overbite may slightly resemble a rabbit’s teeth. You may notice this when you give your kid a carrot and they say “ehh. What’s up doc?” In all reality, an overbite is when the upper front teeth extend out significantly.

Another bite abnormality to look out for is the underbite, which is when the lower front teeth are in front of the upper front teeth. This is caused by the lower jaw sticking out. And lastly, an openbite is when the upper and lower teeth do not overlap.

If you see that your child has problems biting or chewing, it’s best to get them checked out early on. There are a lot of myths about orthodontic braces circulating that might spook you, so get a professional opinion about your child’s dental health before making (or not making) any decisions. Besides being a cosmetic annoyance, these issues can affect your child’s day to day life when they are older.

For the most part, orthodontic problems are genetic. So if you had crooked teeth, spacing issues, or bite problems at some point in your life, then it is highly likely that your kids will have these as well. On the other hand, some problems can be developed through habits such as thumb-sucking, accidents, or even poor nutrition, just to name a few.

Here at Orthodontics LA, we believe in the importance of catching and correcting teeth alignment issues early on. Since most alignment issues get worse over time, we encourage everyone to seek treatment early. At Orthodontics LA in Encino and Glendale, our team of experienced doctors can help your child achieve a straight, pain-free smile. Schedule a consultation with us today!