Many parents can get intimidated by the prospect of getting braces for children, especially younger children years before they might have anticipated orthodontics becoming necessary.
Braces can be a significant health expense, and parents might think of early braces as an unnecessarily early investment that will require later treatment. Some parents might also think that the way that they received orthodontics is the exact correct way for their children. However, seeing an orthodontist early is not only extremely valuable for a child’s oral health, but also has the potential to save parents money down the road.
There is no age that is “too young” for braces. Braces are a solution to problems that emerge in the development of your teeth and jaw. There are even rare circumstances when giving a child braces for their baby teeth can help prevent serious issues later on.
At VIP Smiles, we can help you understand if and when braces would be helpful for your child. Below, we provide some insight on when it might be
Seeing an orthodontist early only helps children
It is strongly recommended that a child visits an orthodontist by ages 7-8 for a full evaluation. This is not an appointment to get braces or to even indicate that braces should come anytime soon. An orthodontist specializes in the development of your teeth and jaws and is qualified to diagnose irregularities that can create serious problems down the road. Annual appointments are recommended after that until the right time for braces comes along.
There is no single age that is right for braces, but getting braces at exactly the right time can mean better treatment options and quicker recovery for patients. The best way to ensure the right timing for braces is to have your child see an orthodontist regularly based on the above recommendations.
Phase 1 orthodontic treatment in children
Phase 1 orthodontic treatment is typically between the ages of 6-10 when children are losing their baby teeth and permanent teeth are coming in. The primary purpose of this type of treatment is not meant to straighten teeth and give a lasting smile like braces for teenagers or adults typically are. Braces for children are usually focused on treating important issues related to tooth and jaw development, such as:
- Issues with anterior or posterior crossbites
- Deep or traumatic underbites or overbites
- Serious jaw development issues that can cause problems like difficulty breathing
- Failure of permanent teeth to grow (impaction) or surface
- Severe tooth alignment issues
Braces are not always the right solution to the above examples, but they can be exactly what is needed in some circumstances. The type of braces or treatments recommended also greatly depend on the condition. Early monitoring of the above issues is critical to ensure the right timing with treatment options.
It is important to understand that phase 1 orthodontic treatment is not meant to avoid braces later on. Rather, phase 1 braces for children are meant to treat specific issues that if untreated early can require even more significant orthodontic treatment later on. Phase 1 orthodontic treatments are not common, and we will only recommend this type of treatment when it makes strong health sense for your child.
Schedule an appointment for your child
Your child may get a recommendation from your dentist to see an orthodontist if they notice warning signs of more serious phase 1 problems. You might also notice things that make you worry there is cause for concern. These might include early, late, or irregular loss of baby teeth, serious issues with tooth crowding or placement, issues with your child’s jaw or bite, or other abnormalities you notice in your child’s mouth. We are happy to answer your questions any time on the phone or through scheduling an appointment.