Is Your Child Too Young for Braces?
Understanding the Best Age to Get Braces for Kids
Even though children require orthodontic treatment for many reasons, parents often wonder if their kids are too young for braces. From crooked teeth to overlaps and even “bad bites,” braces for kids are being introduced early for a number of reasons. Below, we’ll outline the best age to get braces and why braces for kids can help to prevent more serious dental issues later in life.
The Best Age to Get Braces
Many of the above-noted issues will be first brought to your attention by your child’s dentist. This is just one reason why regular dental appointments for children are essential. Your dentist will likely refer your child to an orthodontist – a dentist who specialize in correcting the alignment of teeth and the jaw – to decide if your child does indeed need braces.
While there’s no set age for a child’s first orthodontic appointment, the first visit typically takes place at the age of seven. Remember: not every child who visits an orthodontist will require braces. But at seven years old, most kids will have all of their baby teeth, and their adult teeth will have begun their descent. This will give your orthodontist the best forecast into your child’s dental future.
Your Child’s First Orthodontist Appointment
Since the first orthodontist appointment is exploratory and doesn’t always necessitate treatment, it’s typically offered at no cost. During the visit, you can expect the orthodontist to examine your child’s jaw, mouth and teeth thoroughly. The orthodontist will also examine your child’s bite and ask you if they have any difficulty with chewing or swallowing.
X-rays will typically be performed to examine each tooth’s unique positioning, and determine which permanent teeth have yet to break through. Your orthodontist may also take an impression of your child’s teeth to further determine if braces or any other means of treatment are required.
Are Braces for Kids Necessary?
Several issues in your child’s mouth may require braces, such as overlapping teeth, crooked teeth, crowding in their mouth and malocclusions (otherwise known as underbites and overbites). Other tooth and jaw issues may result in having braces for kids such as those caused by injuries and thumb-sucking.
In all of these instances, early intervention makes it easier to fix the issue at hand. Since kids have softer and more malleable bones, it’s easier for their jaws to move and grow in a desired shape versus an adult’s. Also, because children are in quicker stages of growth, their orthodontic treatment often takes less time.
Another reason your children aren’t too young for braces is because braces for kids can prevent crowding in their mouth and other more expensive and invasive treatments. For example, if your child loses a baby molar early (whether it be due to decay or injury) their incoming adult teeth may emerge out of alignment and without enough space. Down the road, this could result in your child needing to have teeth pulled just to make space in their mouth.
The Importance of Straight Teeth
Not only will a straight smile look better, it could improve your child’s chewing and allow them to speak clearly. This is especially important in younger children when speech issues can be more effectively diagnosed and treated. If you think your child is too young for braces, but he or she has impacted teeth, braces can help to bring these out from their jaw, preventing dental surgery down the road. Straight teeth also boost self-esteem in both children and adults alike, preventing any embarrassment about a crooked smile as your child gets older.
Rest assured that today’s braces for kids are more comfortable than what you may have worn as a child. You can read more about modern options for braces – including Invisalign – here. If you’re concerned about issues in your child’s mouth and are worried that he or she is too young for braces, bring them into the Dental Health Clinic for a free consultation. You’ll be able to meet our team, learn about orthodontic options for children and receive a complimentary exam.
Straight teeth are necessary for more than just a smile – they’ll keep your child’s mouth healthy for the foreseeable future. Contact us to inquire about braces for kids today!