Braces improve the health and appearance of your child’s smile.
As your child gets older, their pedodontist may recommend that you look into whether they’ll need conventional braces or interceptive orthodontic appliances to straighten their teeth. Braces are an incredibly effective and popular orthodontic treatment, but you may find yourself reluctant to sign off on them even after you’ve received an orthodontic consultation. While you want your child to be happy and healthy, braces involve a huge commitment of both time and money; if you’re on a tight budget, it’s natural and smart to want to make sure that every expense is actually necessary.
Although braces are often talked about in the context of improving the aesthetics of a smile, they also work to improve your child’s oral health and daily life in several vital ways. Here are 10 reasons you should seriously consider investing in braces for your child.
1. Straight teeth lower your child’s chances of getting periodontitis and cavities.
Unfortunately, crooked and uneven teeth are simply harder to clean than straight, even teeth. There are more nooks and crannies for bacteria and plaque to collect in, which even adults can struggle to clean properly. These areas increase your child’s chances of getting cavities and periodontitis, which can both seriously jeopardize the health of their teeth. Since straight teeth are more uniform and easier to clean, they help your child better protect their oral health and reduce their chances of getting cavities or periodontitis for their entire lives.
2. Crooked teeth can lead to chronic jaw pain.
An uneven bite or crooked teeth can cause your child to have an improper jaw alignment, where the entire jaw doesn’t sit exactly as it should. This can result in temporomandibular disorder (TMD), a condition that includes symptoms such as chronic jaw pain, frequent or severe headaches, popping or grinding sounds when moving the joint, and lockjaw, which makes it difficult to open or close the mouth. TMD symptoms like this can make simple tasks, such as eating or speaking, difficult and painful. Thankfully, straightening your child’s teeth can prevent them from experiencing this down the road.
3. Straight teeth lower your child’s chances of injuring their teeth.
If your child has crooked teeth, you may notice that several of their teeth protrude a little ahead of the rest. Even slight protrusions like this make teeth more vulnerable to injuries such as chipping, cracking, or getting knocked out. This is because a tooth that sticks forward, even a little, takes the brunt of hard impacts and presents a target for objects to catch on when they hit at an angle. In contrast, straight teeth come together to form a strong wall, distributing the impact of hits to the face across a larger surface area and sitting evenly so that an angled hit is much less likely to catch an individual tooth on the side. This helps prevent your child from suffering a serious dental injury.
4. Straight teeth may make eating easier.
Misaligned bites can make eating more difficult for some children for a few different reasons, making chewing feel stiff, awkward, or even slightly painful. Not all kids experience this problem, as plenty of kids who need braces never mention feeling uncomfortable when they eat, but it can worsen over time as your child ages.
5. Crooked teeth can wear unevenly.
When teeth are crooked or uneven, some teeth take on the brunt of the impact when your child chews or bites into food. Over time, this results in uneven wear on your child’s teeth, further impacting the appearance of their smile, causing tooth sensitivity in their worn teeth, and potentially worsening any existing problems with their uneven bite, such as headaches, jaw pain, or difficulty eating. Straight teeth, however, prevent this from happening by distributing the workload evenly.
6. Straight teeth can ease frequent headaches.
Even if your child lacks symptoms of full-blown TMD pain, an uneven bite might be the culprit if your child has frequent headaches. These headaches can be mild or severe and can vary in frequency, but straightening your child’s teeth can often greatly reduce or even stop these headaches.
7. Crooked teeth may cause your child to grind their teeth.
Children with an uneven bite or crooked teeth may begin grinding their teeth together in their sleep. This unintentional habit can cause your child to wake up with headaches, jaw pain or stiffness, or sensitive teeth and gums. Your child’s teeth are also in danger of chipping, breaking, or cracking from the forces exerted on them, leading to an emergency trip to the dentist that may require your child to get dental bonding or a crown. Even if your child avoids an immediate injury to their teeth, grinding their teeth against each other will wear their teeth down over time. Correcting your child’s bite can also stop this behavior, protecting your child’s teeth from future damage.
8. Straight teeth save you money over time.
There’s no denying it—braces can come with a hefty up-front cost. However, since straightening your child’s teeth can prevent so many dental issues down the road, from cavities and gum disease to worn or injured teeth, braces will likely end up paying for themselves and saving you a lot of money in the long run.
9. Straight teeth help your child build confidence.
Although it might be less practical than the many ways braces work to improve your oral health, the impact that braces have on the appearance of your child’s smile is certainly worth mentioning. Unfortunately, uneven or crooked teeth can make your child self-conscious of their smile, sometimes even to the extent that they go to the effort of avoiding smiling in public. Gaining a straight, even smile helps your child create a positive self-image and build self-confidence, both traits that will help them be happier.
10. Straight teeth impact others’ first impressions of your child.
Whether we intend to or not, we’re always forming first impressions of people based—at least in part—on their appearance. This includes someone’s smile, which is one of the first features people notice and remember about someone new. One survey-based study found that 45% of Americans believe that someone with a straight smile is more likely to get a job than someone with crooked teeth but equal education and job experience. The study also reported that, when participants judged their interest in dating individuals based on pictures alone, people with straight smiles were 57% more likely to get a date. As a result, having a straight smile can help your child make a good impression in professional environments and personal relationships.
While braces can be expensive, they’re often necessary—and they’re a long-term investment in your child’s oral health and self-confidence. We know that the expense of braces for your child is still a big concern for many parents, so you can schedule a consultation with Dr. Shea at our Rochester family dentistry practice to discuss your child’s treatment options and to receive an estimate of the cost as well as how much your insurance is likely to cover.