Dr. Knight embraces a philosophy of comprehensive care. For this reason, he follows the recommendation of the American Association of Orthodontists and advises that you schedule your child’s first orthodontic visit by the age of seven. During this stage of development, a few permanent teeth have erupted, making it an opportune time to detect issues and ascertain whether treatment will be necessary. At Knight Orthodontics, we are here to help you every step of the way, and conveniently offer orthodontic services to patients of all ages in our Louisville, KY, and Radcliff, KY locations.

How to Know If Your Child Will Need Braces

The only way to know for sure if your child will need orthodontic treatment is to have an evaluation. At Knight Orthodontics, we offer free consultations for the entire family. Sometimes a general dentist will recommend you see us, but you do not have to wait on a referral. If you are concerned your child may need braces, you can contact our office to arrange a visit with Dr. Knight.

During your child’s initial consultation, Dr. Knight will assess all aspects of your child’s dental health. It is important to evaluate the teeth, gums, jawbones, and muscles to identify potential problems. Modern diagnostic x-rays and scans will be taken to identify current growth development and determine the best course of action. If orthodontic treatment is recommended, a customized plan will be presented to you, including detailed information regarding appliances, length of treatment, and finances. Our team will work together with you to help determine your best and most practical options.

Benefits of Early Treatment

The majority of orthodontic patients do not need early interceptive treatment or two-phase treatment. However, in patients where early treatment is indicated, there can be many noteworthy advantages. When early interceptive treatment is performed, it significantly reduces the probability of more invasive procedures when your child is older. The jaw is still growing during the early formative years and is an optimal time to begin treatment if it is necessary. A few simple steps can save you a lot of time, worry, and money in the future.

Early intervention is especially beneficial in cases of severe facial disharmony. For example, treatment with maxillofacial plates can correct bite problems that may be detrimental to children’s self-confidence, such as severe overbites and under-bites. With this treatment, small plates are anchored directly to the facial bones, and elastics are used to apply pressure to the teeth. This encourages proper orthodontic alignment and harmony among the facial bones as they grow, rather than letting severe bite issues advance until the facial bones have finished growing.

Signs Your Child May Need Orthodontic Treatment

Although we recommend scheduling an orthodontic evaluation by the age of seven, there are signs you can watch for that will help determine if your child is in need of braces. Some indications may be:

  • Premature or delayed tooth loss: If primary (baby) teeth are lost either too soon or too late, it can contribute to spacing issues.
  • Abnormal occlusion: Teeth that do not fit together or do not touch at all can cause several extensive issues regarding overall dental health.
  • Chronic cheek bite: If your child constantly bites the inside of their cheek or the roof of their mouth, there is likely to be an alignment issue.
  • Mouth breathing: If your child breathes with their mouth open, it can have a serious negative impact on the development of the maxillofacial bones.
  • Thumb or finger sucking: Negative habits such as this can push teeth out of alignment or cause deformity in the developing bone structures.
  • Severe crowding: Children who have too many teeth pushed together are at risk for tooth damage and overall wear and tear. Crowding also makes routine brushing and flossing much more challenging.
  • Difficulty chewing or biting: If you notice your child has discomfort or difficulty eating, it could mean the teeth are misaligned.
  • Jaw issues: When the teeth do not fit together properly, it can put excessive pressure and stress on facial muscles and the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).