5 Early Signs Your Son Might Need Braces

Freckled boy w braces on his teeth, wearing football helmet


Many children and teens have orthodontic work, and braces are a common part of growing up. They’re not only important to achieving that perfect smile, they also prevent future dental health problems. Different children need braces at different ages, however. It’s good to plan for braces, as even though they are usually very effective, the process can be time-consuming or costly. If your son could benefit from braces, it’s better to know sooner rather than later.  If you think it might be time for your son to visit the orthodontist, there are certain signs you can look out for:

Prolonged thumb sucking

Photo by Matthew Freeman via Flicrk

Thumb sucking and using a pacifier is common in babies and small children. It’s a source of comfort for them and putting things in their mouths is a way for them to explore the world around them. If it goes on for too long, however, this could cause misalignment of their permanent teeth. It could even have an effect on their speech. If your son is reluctant to give up sucking his thumb or a pacifier, you can find a few tips to help in this guide to thumb sucking

Crowded teeth

close up photo of crowded front teeth
Photo by Vicki via Flickr

If your son’s permanent are misaligned this could be due to crowding. This can occur when there’s not enough space for them to erupt. Fortunately, this can easily be corrected with braces. You can choose from various types of treatments from standard metal braces to invisible braces. If your son’s teeth are too crowded your dentist may need to perform extractions as well, so it’s a good idea to catch this early on.

Jaw misalignment

close up photo of a horse jaw
Photo by fotosculptor via Flickr

Another common need for braces is misaligned jaws. This can include overbites, underbites, and crossbites. Braces are one example of misaligned jaw treatments as well as cosmetic dentist and jaw expanders. Your son’s dentist will perform checks and x-rays to look for any signs of jaw misalignment, so feel free to ask them questions if you have any concerns. You may also notice a clicking sound in your son’s jaw when he talks or eats which could be a sign of jaw misalignment. 

Frequent mouth breathing

blond boy snoring with mouth open in crib
Photo by Jacob Tomaw via Flickr

Frequent mouth breathing is another early sign your son might need braces. If you want to protect his health look out for this as it can cause crooked teeth. Some common signs of mouth breathing in children include snoring, excessive crying in the night, sleepiness, and irritability. These could also have other causes as well so it’s best to check with the family doctor, dentist, or pediatrician.

Early or late loss of baby teeth

Close up on young boy missing 2 bottom lower teeth
Photo by Nathanael Burton via Flickr

Early loss of baby teeth could cause the remaining teeth to spread out where late loss of baby teeth could lead to overcrowding. It’s advisable to look out for both. Children typically lose their baby teeth between the ages of six and twelve, but it depends on the individual. Here is a complete guide on when baby teeth fall out with tips and advice. If in doubt, speak to your dentist.

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The Building Boys Bulletin

The Building Boys Bulletin Newsletter gives you the facts, encouragement, and inspiration you need to help boys thrive. Written by Jennifer L.W. Fink, mom of four sons and author of Building Boys: Raising Great Guys in a World That Misunderstands Males, Building Boys Bulletin includes:

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