Orthodontics, which means treatment of irregularities of teeth and jaws, is a major decision for both parents and the child. For your child, it means they’ll be adjusting to living with braces for the next couple of years or more. And for parents, it means a major financial responsibility. You want to make sure the timing is perfect. Read on to learn when you should get thinking about braces for your child.
The right time to consider orthodontics depends entirely on your child’s particular situation. If you have a question about your child’s teeth or jaw growth, for example, if you’ve noticed crowding or misalignment or the upper or lower jaws seem to be too small or large, discuss the matter with your dentist during your regular visit. They may recommend a consult with an orthodontist.
As a general rule of thumb, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends the best age for an orthodontics consult is when the permanent teeth begin erupting in your child’s mouth. This usually happens when a child is around seven years of age.
There are a number of reasons to seek an orthodontic consultation for your child. While orthodontics is often thought of as a cosmetic procedure for teeth crowding and spacing, often there are other complex situations like crossbites, open bites, overbites, or potential jaw size discrepancies which may affect important physiological functions like speech, breathing, or chewing which may go unnoticed by the parents. An orthodontics consult will help diagnose such conditions and, if needed, interceptive or corrective treatment may be started. Sometimes minor teeth and bite discrepancies which could have been corrected easily at an early age can lead to severe jaw size discrepancies if left untreated. These issues may require more complex surgical procedures.
While there are no age restrictions to consider orthodontics, children ages 11 to 16 are considered the best age for orthodontics. By this age, children would have all their permanent teeth erupted in the mouth and also their physical growth spurt will assist in the correction of jaw size problems, if any. Another important consideration would be that children are still in their junior high and high school years giving them sufficient time to complete their treatment before they move on to college or other careers.
When the time comes to take a decision regarding your child’s need for braces, we would be more than happy to help you with your decision. We offer comprehensive dental care and orthodontics at the same location helping you avoid visits to multiple offices. We’re currently offering a complimentary orthodontics consultation for braces or Invisalign. Contact us and a member of our team will be happy to schedule your visit.