It can be a good idea to get an orthodontic evaluation from the time a child is 7 years old and older. The best time for your child to get dental braces depends on the severity and the cause of the misalignment of your child's teeth.
Traditionally, treatment with dental braces 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 9 and 14.
Sometimes we recommend what's called an interceptive approach, which involves the use of dental appliances - not always fixed dental braces - at an earlier age, while a child still has some of her baby teeth. The benefits of early intervention by an orthodontist include:
- A better prognosis for how the permanent teeth will develop
- The ability to correct any habits that may be the cause of development problems, such as thumb sucking or tongue pushing
- Correcting bite problems like an open bite, cross bite or deep bite
- The ability to guide the growth of the jaw to accommodate emerging teeth
- Lowering the risk of damage to any protruding teeth
- The ability to improve your child's appearance
- Creating a more pleasing and functional arrangement of teeth, lips and face
- Alleviating future, and possibly more invasive, dental correction
- Increasing self-esteem and confidence in your child
Then, when a child has most of his or her adult teeth, a second phase of treatment is started — usually with fixed dental braces. This second phase can be shorter than a traditional course of braces if an early treatment has been performed. The second phase, Traditional Braces, is designed to:
- Move permanent teeth into their final positions
- Continue improving teeth function and facial appearance
- Continue to increase child's self-esteem
Orthodontic treatment and a child's growth are meant to complement each other. By timing treatment to stages of dental development, your orthodontist can take advantage of your child's growth and development. Problems that can be treated in a growing child may alleviate more drastic and invasive procedures later.
The best choice for you and your child will largely depend on the severity of your child's dental problems. Do call us and find out about the best course of action.