Does your child need braces? When should they start seeing an orthodontist? The perfect age for braces can be a moving target since most orthodontist patients are between ages 10-15.
However, there are some factors you should consider when deciding when to get braces for your child. Let’s go over the facts about braces and when most orthodontics recommend getting them so you can make the best choice based on what your child needs.
The Perfect Age for Braces
The perfect age for braces will be different for your child than it is for others. Your pediatric dentist will be able to let you know from an early age whether or not your child will need braces down the line. Most issues that require braces prevent themselves by age seven.
- An overbite
- An underbite
- Crooked teeth
- Protruding teeth
- Uneven bite
- Trouble chewing
- Difficulty speaking
- Grinding or clenching teeth
- Excess space between teeth
The first orthodontic appointment is typically recommended by age seven, or when your child has lost all of their baby teeth and the adult teeth have started coming in. Most kids actually get braces between ages nine and fourteen.
Starting at the orthodontist at this age can help you and your child’s orthodontist monitor for if and when your child should start braces throughout the next few years.
Having regular orthodontist visits for a few years because your child actually gets braces can help your orthodontist track their development and recommend the best treatment plan when the time is right for braces. They’ll take the question about when your child should get braces out of your hands and let you know when it’s time.
The average time that most people need braces is 18 months, but it can take longer depending on your child’s needs. Trust your dentist and orthodontist’s recommendations and keep them updated about your child’s development.
Choosing the Right Orthodontist for Your Child
Since orthodontic care should start early, you should start researching orthodontist options as soon as possible. If your child does need braces, they will have a long relationship with their orthodontist. You need to make sure that your child feels comfortable in their care and that you trust their expertise.
Ask your child’s dentist and other parent friends for great orthodontist recommendations. When you meet with them, ask plenty of questions and evaluate how they act with your child. Orthodontists work primarily with children, so they should be personable and able to build a strong rapport with your child.
If you aren’t feeling comfortable with your orthodontist, it’s your right to move on to someone else. The benefit of starting your child in orthodontic care early is that you will have time to find the perfect practitioner for your family.
What to Expect at the First Appointment
Your child’s first orthodontist appointment will be a simple evaluation of their mouth and development. It will include a physical examination where the orthodontics takes some measurements and x-ray photos are also common.
After the exam, your orthodontist will give their professional opinion about if your child needs braces and when they should get them. They can also consult you about what type of braces will be best for your child and whether they need them on top and bottom or just one.
This first visit is really a chance for you and your child to get to know the orthodontist and make sure they’re a good match. You should be able to ask plenty of questions so you leave feeling good about your child’s treatment plan.
Types of Braces
Just like there’s no perfect age for braces, there’s no one size all treatment plan for every child. There are also more options than ever, so you should carefully consult with your child’s orthodontist to pick the right braces type for them.
The most common braces for crooked teeth in kids are wire bracket braces that can be adjusted as the teeth start to move. They are attached to the teeth permanently until the treatment plan is over, and then most patients require a retainer to keep their newly aligned smile in place.
Sometimes rubber bands are used with wire braces to help the alignment process along. Your child may experience some pain when they get their braces adjusted or first start using rubber bands, but it goes away after a day or so. If there’s any additional pain for longer than a few days, contact your child’s orthodontist.
The other common type of braces is clear removable trays. This is a good option if your child only needs bottom teeth braces or top teeth braces. They are nearly invisible and can be removed for eating.
Both types of braces are effective options, but most parents of younger kids prefer wire bracket braces so they don’t have to stay on top of their child about keeping their removable braces on. If your child is a teenager when they get braces and more responsible, you can trust them more with their removable braces.
Get the Most From Braces for Your Child
Early intervention with braces will set your child up for good oral health for the rest of their life. If you think your child might need braces, don’t wait to make the first appointment. Starting early will help their development later on and give them the best results from braces.
However, it’s perfectly normal to get braces in the teenage years too, so don’t worry if you feel like it’s too late. Your orthodontist will be able to advise you on the right treatment plan no matter your child’s age.
To get your child started with orthodontic care with ARCH Orthodontists, contact us today.