3 Reasons Many Kids Need Braces

It's not often that kids are clamoring to visit a dentist's office to get fitted for braces, but there is no shortage of ways that braces can help. Most parents, however, aren't sure of what signs they should look for when considering braces for their children. Take a look below to learn a little more about the reasons why many kids benefit from having braces.

Abnormal Bites

Though abnormal bites can be slightly more obvious when a person smiles, many of the less severe examples go unnoticed for years. This can, in turn, create more serious dental health problems. To avoid these issues, talk to your dentist about any abnormal bites they may see developing in your child. These may include common bite patterns such as overbites and underbites. In the former, upper teeth may extend past the lower set, while in the latter the lower jaw sits too far forward. Open bites — where the upper and lower sets of teeth do not touch — is another example of a situation that is likely to require braces.

Thumb Sucking

While the habit of thumb sucking in very young children isn't particularly worrisome, it should be discouraged in older children. In fact, thumb sucking that persists past the time when children start growing their first permanent teeth can actually alter the course of those teeth. Sadly, many children end up needing braces for no other reason than excessive thumb sucking. In order to stop the habit before it requires braces to fix, try to determine the root cause of your child's habit. It may be a natural reflex that has simply carried over from their younger years, or it may be an attempt to deal with anxiety and stress. In either case, it's best to find something comforting, whether a physical object or a daily routine, that can replace the need to suck on their thumb.


Another common reason that kids need braces is that their teeth are too crowded. They may see their new, permanent teeth grow in ways that leave no chances for other teeth to grow properly. This is also likely to negatively affect the tissue that the teeth grow out of. Braces work by slowly but efficiently separating teeth so that each tooth grows in a more predictable direction and into a more stable position. Without braces to correct it, crowding can make everything from eating to talking that much more difficult.

Contact a kids' orthodontist near you to learn more.