Taking a short break from our Dental Trauma series, I thought I write about something a little more lighthearted and something that you may already be wondering about for your child. “Does my child need braces?”

For the most part, you may already know the answer to this question. You see, most orthodontic problems such as dental crowding, small lower jaw, etc are genetic, meaning you were born with it.

Braces and Finger Sucking Habits

Other reasons such as prolonged finger sucking habits, early loss of teeth due to tooth decay, dental trauma may lead to orthodontic problems.

This is definitely something we do check for at every single dental checkup. It is part of our “anticipatory guidance”, meaning if we see a problem or concern that may arise in the future, we want to make sure you are well informed. Of course, we don’t have a magic ball to say with 100% certainty that your child will or will not need braces.

First evaluation for braces by age 7

However, your child’s family history and what we observe over time with your child’s oral development will give us some idea. We will then make the decision when your child may be ready for their first orthodontist checkup. The American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) recommends first evaluation by an orthodontist no later than age 7.

We at Anchorage Pediatric Dentistry strongly encourage you to find an orthodontic specialist for evaluation and care. If you have questions regarding your child’s “bite” or worried about braces, please give us a call and we can guide you. I have included a brochure from the AAO “Problems to watch for in growing children” that may be helpful for you.

Dr Christy Jen DDS

Dr. Christy Jen received her undergraduate and dental degree from the University of Washington, and completed her pediatric dental training at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. She practiced in Michigan and Louisiana while her husband finished his surgery training before finally making Alaska their home.

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