How Braces Can Help You Avoid Dental Problems - Hardy Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics

How Braces Can Help You Avoid Dental Problems

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Two girls standing side-by-side that are both holding up photos in front of their face. One photo shows teeth that are crooked and the other shows teeth that are getting straightened with braces.

Many people know that braces can help straighten the teeth so a smile is more beautiful. However, much of the work that orthodontic treatment does is to prevent dental issues that are so common as a person ages. Jaw pain, inability to bite or chew, speech impediments, poor dental health, low self-esteem and more are all issues that braces can help, even in young children. Find out how orthodontic treatment focuses on these issues and how it can change you or your child’s life!

Why Do We Do Child Orthodontics?

We don’t put braces on children because we think they are cute. Children will need braces if there are actual orthodontic issues going on with their bite and alignment. Even though children are small, those issues can become devastating as they grow older. We are talking about issues such as misaligned bites and jaws that lead to speech impediments. That misalignment will also lead to problems eating, biting, chewing, smiling, and more.


The cool part about those issues though, is that we can start to detect them when children are still quite small, and we can fix those issues before they’ve become adults. It’s why you will sometimes see children with braces on their teeth. Science has shown that as a person ages, their jawbones harden into place. If that hardening happens when bite is misaligned and there are issues with the jawbones or teeth, it can be much harder to correct. In a child, orthodontic treatment can slowly shift teeth and jawbones to positions they need to be in, as the jaws are malleable.


A young adult woman that is smiling at the camera with braces on her teeth. She is resting her chin in her hands.

Bite Correction

The aim of child orthodontics is to correct bite issues. The most common include:

  • Crossbite – With crossbite, the teeth are slanted in different directions, with some of them being more towards the tongue and others being more towards the cheeks. This can cause abnormal facial development, jaw problems, wear on the teeth, pain and more.
  • Openbite – Openbite refers to an opening (or gap) in the teeth when the upper and lower jaws come together. When the mouth is closed, there is a gap between the upper and lower front teeth. This can create problems with speaking such as speech impediments and lisps.
  • Overbite – The upper jaw rests too far forward in front of the teeth on the lower jaw. The upper jaw should rest on top of the lower jaw, with the front upper teeth being slightly in front of the front lower teeth.
  • Underbite – The upper jaw and front teeth rest behind the lower jaw instead of on top of the lower jaw and slightly forward. This can affect the ability to chew properly and can lead to jaw and joint pain, headaches, earaches and more.

Misaligned teeth and jaws can cause damaging effects over time. Luckily, orthodontics can help patients avoid or correct misalignment issues for better health.


Braces for Teens

If your child gets child orthodontics, they may not be out of the park yet with orthodontic issues. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that all children have their first orthodontic appointment sometime around age 7 or 8. This is a period of transition when the baby teeth are starting to fall out and adult teeth are coming in. It’s a key time to note any abnormalities with bite and alignment. We can also see if your child is susceptible to tooth decay, gum disease and dental emergencies by how the baby teeth look.


If they are crooked everywhere, your child could have a tooth break from too much pressure. The gums may bleed and cavities may form because the teeth are harder to clean when they are crooked. We fix the issues with braces for a short period of time during childhood. However, another period of transition is when children are growing into teens.


Most of the adult, permanent teeth should be in the mouth around age 11 or 12. This is a another key time when teens will start to get braces. The jaws don’t tend to harden until sometime around age 18. However, we can start straightening those pearly whites right when the permanent teeth come in. This is why so many young teens get braces. They can have a straighter smile right away that they keep through their teen years and more.


A close-up view of a person's mouth that has clear, ceramic braces on the teeth.

Help for Dental Problems as Adults

The main reason to get braces is to correct or to avoid dental problems. Studies show that dental problems such as tooth decay and gum disease are the most chronic problems that people face. Most don’t even know it! Crooked teeth are teeth that are much harder to clean. Areas will simply build up acidic plaque that breaks up the teeth and decays them. Misaligned bites will lead to eating, speaking and other oral issues that get worse with age.


Bite correction can be slightly more difficult as an adult, but you get the added benefits of invisible options for your braces when you’re older. Lingual braces are ones that can rest on the back of adult teeth and can stay hidden in the mouth. Invisalign treatment is a series of transparent aligners that you can hide in your mouth as well. Or, you can opt for the straightening power of clear, ceramic braces or metal braces. All will significantly improve your oral health and will diminish your dental problems. To learn more about you or your child’s options, call Hardy Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics today at (720) 887-6003!