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How To Know If My Child Needs Braces

Child in Braces

“How do I know if my child needs braces?”

We hear this question a lot. The short answer is: You probably won’t. But your dentist will, and this is one more excellent reason to have a family dentist you’ve learned to trust.

In a previous article, Your Child’s First Dental Visit, we encouraged you to come in by your child’s first birthday or six months after their first tooth comes in. If you bring your child to the dentist on a regular schedule, your dentist will know if your child needs braces. It’s important to have that history to see how your child’s dental health has changed over time.

How can I tell if my child needs braces?

While your family dentist or orthodontist will have the final say, there are some things you can look for:

  • Problems with biting or chewing
  • Breathing through mouth only
  • Late or early loss of baby teeth
  • Excessive thumb sucking
  • Teeth that are crowded or misplaced
  • Jaws misaligned

If you notice any of these, bring your child to your family dentist for confirmation that there is indeed a problem that should be referred to your orthodontist.

How young is too young for my child to get braces?

In general, your child should be at least seven years old or just starting to get their permanent teeth. If this seems earlier than when you were a child, it’s because orthodontists have learned more about treatment over the years.

Early treatment is more effective and easier on your child. The younger your child is, the softer and more malleable their bones are. This means that treatment will be faster.

For example, if your child loses a baby molar early, the adult molar might drift forward, severely crowding other permanent teeth. If you correct this problem early, you can avoid having to remove the tooth later or face further orthodontic work.

Is it really that important for my child to have straight teeth?

While straight teeth are not just about looks, don’t downplay the significance this will have in your child’s life. Many adults are embarrassed by their teeth and avoid smiling. As a child, peer pressure and teasing is much worse and can affect your child’s self-esteem for life.

Also, straight teeth help your child chew better and speak more clearly. Braces can also help bring impacted teeth out of the jaw, avoiding surgery down the road.

How much do braces cost?

This is a tough one to answer because it depends on how much work needs to be done. Fees might range from $2,000 to $8,000.

Fortunately, your healthcare plan usually covers part of the cost of orthodontic work. Also, your orthodontist does not expect you to pay for everything up front. You can often pay 10% to 20% down and the make monthly payments after that.

If you want to find out for sure if your child needs braces, call us or send us an email at

Main Street Dental Clinics has offices in Rochester, MN; Owatonna, MN; Mankato, MN; Blooming Prairie, MN; and New Richland, MN. We are locally-owned, and we’re part of your community.

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