At What Age Should Your Children Get Dental Braces?

Plaque vs. Calculus

At What Age Should Your Children Get Dental Braces?

One common concern for parents of young children is whether their children should get dental braces at a young age. Many people remember visiting an orthodontist for dental braces during their teenage years because dental braces will be more efficient when a person’s baby teeth have all fallen out. However, the American Association of Orthodontists actually recommends scheduling your child’s first orthodontic visit much earlier.

The AAO says the ideal age for a child’s first visit to the orthodontist is 7 years old. A child’s first permanent molars appear around age 6, so by the time a child turns 7, a dentist or orthodontist can assess their bite for potential issues. By visiting an orthodontist early, parents and their children can learn about appropriate orthodontic treatments that will prevent worse dental problems in the future. From the outset, a good dentist or orthodontist can ensure your child’s bite is aligned as their mouth and teeth continue to grow.

It is true that braces are usually applied when a child has lost most of their baby teeth. Most children who need braces receive them around the ages of 8 and 14. It may be around these ages that parents begin to notice issues with their child’s jaw or teeth. In this situation, the usual misconception is that you have to observe and recognize dental issues before seeking treatment. On the contrary, you can begin treatment while a child still has their baby teeth to ensure your child’s mouth will have the space to house all of their permanent teeth.

An orthodontist may opt to use dental appliances other than braces to treat patients with baby teeth. Children may be fitted with palate expanders to safely expand their upper jaw, creating space for future permanent teeth. They may also use fixed space appliances to hold baby teeth in place so that permanent teeth can erupt safely. Early treatments can be part of a two-phase treatment plan that culminates in applying dental braces once most of the permanent teeth have settled in.

You should be aware that two-phase treatment may be the best option for some children, but unnecessary for others. Certain types of severe misalignment such as anterior crossbites require treatment as soon as possible. However, in many cases, applying dental braces when a child is old enough can be the more efficient option. Be sure to discuss all the treatment options with your dentist so your child can have the perfect smile. 

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