When should a kid get braces?
Nothing is like the gift of a beautiful, happy smile. As a pediatric dental hygienist, the question I’m probably asked the most is does my child need braces? Right after that, they ask, when should my child get braces?
Parents always ask about the child’s age for braces or orthodontic therapy. There are many mixed answers out there. So I am here to give you the details.
Some dentist are saying to wait until all the baby teeth have fallen out but then you see a 7 year old with braces. So what gives? Why the confusion?
So when can kids get braces?
Well there is so much confusion because the answer is totally dependent on a case by case basis. There is a wide variety of orthodontic steps that can be done at different ages. Treatment depends on the situation and dental age of each individual patient.
Let’s get to know more about braces and the right time for your child to get braces!
Your child’s first visit to the dentist
A child should be seeing the dentist within 6 months of eruption of their first baby tooth. If no teeth have come in, make sure that your child gets a dental visit by at least age one.
The teeth can be examined for possible problems, and if problems are detected, treatment can be offered. The more visits to the dentist your child has, the more comfortable they will feel when serious concerns are addressed.
Oftentimes, it is hard to tell if a child will need braces when they are very young. I would make sure your child is seeing a pediatric dentist vs. general dentist since a pediatric dentist specialized in children and their jaw development.
How should you prepare your child to have braces?
Your child will be evaluated for the need for braces at every dental appointment. They should be visiting the dentist every 6 months for a routine cleaning and exam. At some point your dentist may refer you to an orthodontist to have your child evaluated for braces.
The primary teeth should be done erupting between age 2-3. The permanent teeth start coming in around age 5 to 6. Your dentist can see how the teeth erupt and decide whether enough space is in the mouth or if other potential concerns lie there.
If the upper dental arch is not aligned properly, this might cause issues with upper sinuses and airways. In turn, this may lead to the child’s mouth breathing.
Breathing of the mouth is one sign of a child needing braces. Poor sleep, night snoring, and dark circles under the eyes might also be some other signs. These are signs of an increased risk of sleep disorders and other health problems for the child.
Early intervention in orthodontics involves the use of functional devices like braces which can allow the child’s jawbones to develop correctly.
When should a child go to the orthodontist?
So when should a child go to the orthodontist?
Early intervention is a key part of long-term success with dental treatment. An orthodontist should see your child by the age of seven unless your dentist says otherwise.
There is confusion for some parents on when is the right time to take their child to an orthodontist? While industry standards exist, without first consulting an orthodontist, it is practically unknown at an early age if a child needs braces.
The traditional approach to orthodontics was to wait until kids were around age 12 and were able to lose their primary teeth before getting orthodontic braces.
The idea behind this approach was that when adult teeth have fully erupted, the course of treatment is usually more predictable.
However, today’s knowledge allows orthodontists to see if misaligned primary teeth are the early signs that upper jaw and lower jaws do not develop properly. In effect, this can influence the face, airways and even posture of the child.
Hence, now you might want to know about the issues and signs through which you can determine about when you should be taking your child to a dental visit.
I will also help you to see the symptoms for the orthodontic problems which are as follows:
The orthodontic problems: Reasons for braces
Here are some orthodontic problems which may fuel the reasons for braces:
- The loss of baby teeth too early or too late.
- If your child is having trouble to chew or bite food
- Mouth breathing issues, sleep apnea
- Too much space
- Too little space (crowding)
- Open bite
- Speech impediment
- Jaw issues
- Impacted teeth
- The child can have many habits that can indicate future oral health issues such as finger sucking
- Misaligned teeth. Teeth coming in places where they should not. (Example: Roof of the mouth or in the vestibule)
- Protruding teeth
- Teeth grinding and clenching could just be normal teeth erupting behavior but could also mean misalignment of the teeth.
These are just some of the signs that show the orthodontic problems that may indicate the need for braces.
Dental braces help the jaw development and guide the child’s teeth into the correct position. Since you now know about when to get braces, your child will typically wear braces for at least 18 to 36 months. This time can vary depending upon the development of the teeth and jaw as well.
To sum it up
I hope this article eases your mind about when your child can get braces and the reasons for braces.
For more oral health care tips, be sure to visit Toothbrush Life.
Kelly Hancock, RDH
Kelly is a registered dental hygienist and oral health care provider. She is passionate about oral hygiene and encourages people to achieve optimal oral health. She has been working in the dental profession for 16 years and worked in many different roles in the dental industry. Kelly is currently a pediatric dental hygienist specializing in children’s dentistry. She is committed to helping others with their oral health care issues and helping others achieve a smile they love.