For all that 80s movies and Saturday morning cartoons like to make fun of ‘brace faces’, they are quite common among Americans. Over 4 million Americans have braces, 75% of whom are children or adolescents. As orthodontic care has become more available and more affordable, Americans have become proactive, seeking corrective dental work to improve their lives and the lives of their children.
Why get braces?
There are plenty of reasons to get braces, benefits ranging from improved oral hygiene to reduced self-consciousness. The consequences of not getting braces early may be as minor as a few crooked teeth or as severe as permanent damage to jaw joints and teeth. The sooner treatment, the more varied the treatment options and the easier the treatment itself.
What are the signs that braces are necessary?
The most obvious sign that braces are necessary are crooked or crowded teeth. There are other, more subtle signs, however. Some hints that your child might need braces include:
- Difficulty chewing or biting
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- Mouth breathing
- Thumb and finger sucking
- Jaws that shift or make sounds
- Biting the cheek or roof of the mouth
- Jaws and teeth that are out of proportion to the rest of the face
What are the social benefits of braces?
A smile is your ‘Hello!’ to the world. It’s your first impression on friends, teachers, employers. As a parent, you want to give your child every advantage and access to every opportunity in life. Giving your child the best smile possible gives them just one more advantage in life. Braces don’t just mean straighter teeth, they also mean:
- Improved self-image and self-confidence carrying from childhood to adulthood
- Clearer speech and easier pronunciation of words leading to more confidence in speaking
- Teeth are one of the most important features that people pay attention to a remember when meeting new people
- Unattractive habits (chewing on pencils, thumb sucking, and biting lips) may be beaten by braces
What are the health benefits of braces?
So you know your child needs braces, and you know that getting them will improve their smile and self-esteem, but did you know that braces have huge health benefits as well? By getting braces not only will your child’s attitude towards life improve, so will their quality of life. Some short-term side effects of dental problems include headaches and earaches. Braces can help your child not only with these issues, but also with a multitude of long-term problems down the road such as:
- Prevention of cavities and gum disease
- Making flossing and brushing easier and more effective
- Prevention of irregular wear on teeth
- Reduction of clenching jaws and/or grinding teeth
- Improved ability to chew food properly and thoroughly
- More space for permanent teeth to grow into
- Teeth are less likely to shift later in life
- Less likely to damage to jaw joints in the future
- Decreased likelihood of permanent tooth extraction
- Lowered risk of injury to protruding front teeth (“buck teeth”)
- Improved width of dental arches
- Reduced likelihood of impacted permanent teeth
- Guiding permanent teeth into better positions
Braces offer huge benefits to your child short term and long term. With healthy teeth and a beautiful smile, they can confidently take on the world!