So you’ve noticed that your kid has some problems with their teeth. Maybe it’s that crooked eye tooth that protrudes out too far. Or perhaps, they can’t really close her mouth all the way. Or possibly, it could be a breathing problem.
Whatever it is, you’ve determined that your child might be a candidate for braces. However, you’re concerned that your child might be too young and that you might be rushing things. If you find yourself in this type of predicament, read on. You’ll get a better idea of when it’s the right time to explore orthodontia for your child.
How Young Is too Young?
It’s a simple question, and although this post answers it right off the bat, it doesn’t mean that the information that follows this paragraph is irrelevant. It provides more of the “why” for orthodontia (and the best “when”). Truth be told, kids as young as six can be candidates for the beginning stages of orthodontia, according to Kids Health.
Most kids start to get their permanent teeth around seven years old. In spite of this, it doesn’t mean your child will start wearing full-blown braces at six. It does mean that your child’s dentist may start monitoring your child’s “case” that early to determine if braces will be necessary in the future.
How Can My Dentist Help?
Your child’s dentist acts as the first line of defense when it comes to oral health. Your dentist is likely to be the one who’ll predict the need for orthodontia before anyone else will. If your child looks like a candidate for braces, it might be beneficial for them to see a general practitioner in the area.
Harlington, TX, dentistry experts generally see a wide range of patients, including kids. Going to the dentist can be scary. The fewer dentists your child has to see, the better. A dentist’s office that can help a dental patient—in this case, your child—through more of the stages of treatment can put your child at ease. A better relationship with the dentist will also mean better results with braces because your child will be comfortable taking the dentist’s advice.
Fixing crooked teeth is usually what people think about when they think of getting braces for their kids. Indeed, misaligned teeth certainly point toward bite problems. However, not all bite problems are as obvious.
A person can have an overbite or an underbite without crowding. And children, whose permanent teeth have not come in yet, can have the potential for crooked teeth down the road. The crooked teeth just haven’t manifested yet.
Mouth X-rays typically reveal a problem of this nature. Malocclusion comes in many forms. Regular visits to the dentist for cleanings and other treatments often give parents the first inkling that their child may have a potential orthodontia issue.
The Right Time
The short answer is there isn’t a definitive right time nor a wrong time. Here’s what we mean. Each child is an individual, so what might be the right age for your son to get braces may not be the right age for your daughter to get braces. Orthodontic work is very individualized. Some kids do well with just wires and brackets. Other might need to get teeth pulled or wear headgear before they can start with proper braces.
Additionally, braces do require care, meaning that your child must be old enough to understand how to care for their orthodontia. They will also need to know how to eat correctly so as not to damage the braces or cause injury to themselves. The same can be said for knowing how to use appliances like palatal expanders.
Again, the best way for you to plan your child’s orthodontic work and to decide on the right age for orthodontia is to be working with your regular dental provider all along.
Getting your child outfitted with braces is a very individual process. Parents who regularly take their kids to the dentist often know very early on if their kids will need braces. It’s not unusual to see a child of six in the orthodontist’s chair. That being the case, the parents’ best bet is to work with the dentist during regular visits. The need for any future orthodontic work should be uncovered then, even if the child is as young as six.