One question that often comes up at TenBrook Orthodontics is when should a child start receiving orthodontic treatment?
Children should see an orthodontist by age 7. That’s a good age to have your child’s first orthodontic evaluation. Dr. TenBrook can determine whether a child has serious issues such as tooth crowding and jaw misalignment (either severe overbite, where top teeth extend way beyond the bottom teeth, or under bite, which is the opposite).
Early intervention can help in treating these issues as young children have softer, more malleable bones, so their jaws are more readily encouraged to move or grow in a more ideal shape. Treatment can also take less time during these years.
Treatment with dental braces usually begins when a child has lost most of his or her baby (primary) teeth, and a majority of his or her adult (permanent) teeth have grown in — usually between the ages of 8 and 14.
Braces, however, may not always be the first choice for treatment with young children. Many orthodontists use an interceptive approach, which involves the use of dental appliances – as opposed to full braces – while a child still has most of his or her baby teeth. Then, when a child has most of his or her adult teeth, a second phase of treatment is started — usually with dental braces.
Early intervention can also prevent teeth crowding in the future by helping to prevent teeth from drifting into areas where adult teeth have year to come in.
More and more parents have been opting for early treatment and braces, but recent research has shown that for some common problems, it can be better to wait until all of child’s permanent teeth have come in. These common problems can include overjets — when teeth protrude or stick out — or crooked teeth that just need simple straightening. Treating these types of problems too early may sometimes mean that your child will need treatment again in the years ahead.
The key to all of this is the individual severity of your child’s dental problems. Every mouth and every smile is different and parents should explore all options when embarking on orthodontic care. Most importantly, talk with Dr. TenBrook about the best course of treatment for your child and considerations such as cost and length of treatment.
In the end there’s no universal “right age” to wear braces, just the best time to start treatment for each individual child, depending on their needs.
The TenBrook Orthodontics staff are passionate working professionals, who pride themselves in providing superb quality services and delivering exceptional results, through one-on-one care. We are here for YOU! Contact us for a free consultation to learn more about your child’s orthodontic needs.