How Can I Tell If My Teen Needs Braces?

Dental health is important for everyone. For teens, however, getting the right care at the right time can have a massive impact on their overall health. Irregular spacing, wisdom teeth, and abnormal growth of adult teeth can mar your teen’s appearance and permanently damage their self-esteem.

Misaligned teeth are the biggest problem faced by many young people. Correcting overbites, underbites, and other less-than-perfect tooth and jaw positions may require braces. Some problems are clearly seen, while others are more difficult to self-diagnose. How can you tell if your teen needs braces or when it’s time to take them to an orthodontist in Annapolis?

Discomfort While Eating

Pain or clicking in the jaw while chewing is a classic sign of misalignment. Jaw muscles that are weak or overstretched can become sore when your teen chews their food. To cope with the pain, some teens will start to eat less or limit the types of foods they consume. Watch your child’s diet for signs of possible discomfort during meal times.

Extra-Wide Gaps

Large gaps between teeth can trap food particles. If your teen doesn’t floss regularly, these particles form an ideal environment for harmful bacteria to grow. This growth can erode delicate tissues and contribute to plaque and decay. Teeth affected by decay may need to be removed. Dental braces help gently close the gaps, reducing the risk of hidden decay.

Crowded Teeth

Not having enough space between teeth is just as bad as having too much. Teeth that are too close together make proper cleaning difficult. This can lead to cavities, plaque build-up, and other symptoms of tooth decay.

Speech Problems

Does your child have a peculiar way of speaking or pronouncing certain words? They may have an alignment problem. Large overbites make it difficult to form some common sounds. If your child’s speech problems start after their adult teeth start to grow in, check with your orthodontist.

Trouble Sleeping

Sleep apnea is a condition that causes the sufferer to stop breathing temporarily during deep sleep cycles. When the brain senses a lack of oxygen, it jolts the sufferer awake long enough to restore normal breathing patterns. Some cases of sleep apnea are caused by a neurological disorder. Others result from a blockage in the airway. Obstructive sleep apnea can be alleviated with the right dental intervention.

Regular check-ups with your dentist are the best way to recognize potential problems. If your dentist sees a reason for concern, they may refer you to an orthodontist for further examination. If you notice any of these signs in your teen, be sure to bring them up at their next appointment.