Do I Need Braces?
If you’re not totally satisfied with your teeth, getting braces may be a way of improving their appearance. There’s nothing to be ashamed of if you do need braces.
In fact, an estimated 50%–70% of American children wear braces at some point. But are braces really the right solution for you? Here are some signs that you or your child may need braces after all.
Signs to Watch For
You might be able to tell whether braces are a good choice just by watching for some specific signs. It will take the help of a dentist and orthodontist to find out for sure whether braces are the best option, but the following oral health issues should give you the push you need to make an appointment:
- Crooked teeth
- Crowded teeth
- Gaps in teeth
- Difficulty in biting or chewing
- Incorrect jaw position (underbite or overbite)
- Jaws that make sounds or shift around
If you notice any of these signs, ask your dentist whether braces might offer a solution.
Ask a Pro
The best way to find out whether you need braces is to ask your dentist. Kids should start seeing the dentist once they start getting their baby teeth and should continue visiting every six months. Your dentist will keep an eye out for potential signs that braces are necessary. If they are, your child will likely get braces after all his or her permanent teeth come in.
However, remember that it’s not just kids and teenagers who need braces! Many adults could also benefit from getting braces. Whether you visit the dentist regularly or it has been a while since your last visit, don’t hesitate to make an appointment if you’re worried that you might need braces.
When you visit your dentist, be sure to mention any particular issues you’re having that the dentist might not observe during an exam. For example, your dentist will notice if your teeth are crooked or crowded, but he or she might not know that you always seem to bite your cheek on accident or that your jaw makes a cracking sound when you chew. These can be signs that you might need braces, so be sure to tell your dentist so that he or she can help you come up with the best solution.
Getting Your Braces
If your dentist does think braces may be necessary, he or she will refer you to an orthodontist. If the orthodontist recommends braces as well, be sure to ask about your braces options. In addition to the traditional metal braces, there are also less noticeable options available today, such as Invisalign. You may also need a retainer after the braces have been removed to keep your teeth in place.
Now that you know what to look for when it comes to needing braces, you can approach your dentist with the right information. Use these tips to keep an eye on your teeth or your child’s teeth. Getting braces can improve the aesthetics of your smile along with your oral health.
Photo via Flickr by monica y garza