Many parents find themselves asking when the best time to get braces for a child is. The answer is that it depends on the nature and severity of the orthodontic problem.
These youngsters are generally between 8 and 14 years old. Their head and mouth are still growing, and it is easier to straighten their teeth.
Generally speaking, orthodontists prefer not to put braces on a very young child. They may only do so if the child has a severe problem like extreme crowding, impacted canines or a severe overbite.
Underbites are an exception, however, for youngsters with this condition tend to keep growing longer than do children with overbites or normal bites. Girls with underbites may not stop growing until they are 16, while boys continue.
Putting braces on someone whose jaw is still growing can result in the patient outgrowing the correction – which means they may need braces again.
Some conditions can take care of themselves. Crowding, for example, is a very common problem in children. It may take care of itself as the child’s jaw grows to its adult size and provides more room for the permanent teeth.
Similarly, open bites, in which the front teeth don’t come completely together when the patient bites down, may take care of themselves as the child gets older.
The upper and lower teeth grow towards each other, so many orthodontists prefer to wait until the child has lost all of their baby teeth before treating an open bite.
The first orthodontic evaluation
Orthodontists may also recommend scheduling a child’s first evaluation when they’re around seven years old. By that age, the child will have started growing their permanent teeth and problems like crowding or an overbite will start becoming obvious.
During that first evaluation, the orthodontist will examine the child’s teeth, jaw and mouth. He may take X-rays of the child’s teeth to check their positions and see if any more permanent teeth are due to erupt.
He may also take a mold or impression of the child’s teeth. That involves biting into a tray of gooey material. When the material hardens, the orthodontist will have a replica of the child’s teeth that will help him determine the best treatment options.
Schedule your consultation
If you’re interested in braces for your child, contact Lach Orthodontic Specialists today to schedule a consultation.