How do I know if my child needs orthodontics

How do I know if my child needs orthodontics?

The American Orthodontic Society (AOS) recommends the first visit with the orthodontist at six years to detect problems, if any, in early phases. Of course you should take it to a review with the specialist in case you notice any symptoms that the development of the child’s mouth and / or teeth is not appropriate. We give you 5 keys that you can have as a reference.

It is most likely that at 6 years the children have already had several appointments with the pediatric dentist, who will have indicated guidelines for oral hygiene, brushing, etc. and in addition, it will be who indicates to you, in case of noticing any incipient problem, a visit to the orthodontist before that age.

If this is not the case, and the child has never visited the dentist, parents may be alert to several signs that may signal dental, maxillary or oral problems.


The problems in the teeth that we can notice are the premature or late loss of milk teeth. The teeth of milk conserve the space that will occupy the definitive pieces and the mismatch in the fall can rebound in needing orthodontics in the future.

The same happens in the exit of the teeth: the first milk teeth usually leave around 8 months and the first permanent pieces around 7 years.

As a general rule, it could be considered that there is a delay in the development of the primary dentition when the first primary tooth appears once the child has completed its first year or when it is more than 8 years old, in the case of permanent dentition. There may be cases of agenesis, which, as we explained in this article, is the lack of dental pieces.

It is also important to look at the arrangement of the pieces: if there is too much gap between the teeth, if, on the contrary, there is crowding, etc.


Although it may seem an unimportant gesture, strange grimaces when chewing  are often the consequence of a mastication problem. It is possible that the child chews on one side (unilateral chewing) and that lack of balance can generate  pains in the head or neck  and cause a  crossbite, one of the causes of needing orthodontics. 

Other mandibular problems are manifested by noise or clicking when opening and closing the mouth or chewing, can lead to headaches or neck that parents usually do not relate to the mouth.

You could also detect disharmony in the face and that the lower or upper jaw be of different sizes. The scientific name for this case is malocclusion: if the upper jaw is greater than the lower jaw the term used is overbite, and if it is the opposite case it is called ‘sub-bite’. These cases cause the wear of the front teeth and sometimes pain in the palate. To correct this malformation, orthodontic placement will be necessary.


The repeated use of accessories such as a pacifier or suction of the thumb can lead to malformation of the teeth. So that it is not possible to reach the case in which it can only be fixed with a device, it is necessary to remove the pacifier before 3 years of age. Another way to prevent the teeth from developing in the wrong way but without removing the pacifier is to let them use it less than 6 hours a day.

Once we know if our son or daughter needs orthodontics and at what age, we will have to know what is the best type of dental device for him or her. On the one hand we have fixed orthodontics or brackets, a wire that sticks to dental enamel with a special resin.

Today there are several possibilities to choose from, such as metal brackets or brackets porcelain or sapphire, much more aesthetic. On the other hand are the removable appliances. These are used for less severe cases and are easy to clean due to their removable characteristics. The dentist, together with the orthodontist, will decide which dental device will be appropriate for each patient.

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