Once upon a time, children did not start visiting orthodontists until they were in their early teens. These days, experts recommend that parents should start taking their children to the orthodontist when they are around seven years old. By that age, a child’s adult teeth have started to grow in, and the orthodontist will be able to spot potential problems like crowding or an overbite. As such, braces for kids are becoming more and more popular.
When Should a Child Get Braces?
In most cases, our orthodontist will want to wait until the child has lost all of their baby teeth and has most of their adult teeth. The orthodontist can’t straighten teeth that haven’t emerged yet. In fact, putting braces on a child too early can lengthen the treatment time for the emerging adult teeth and can throw the other teeth out of alignment. However, it all depends on the unique situation.
Is Early Treatment Ever Appropriate?
Yes. Our orthodontist may recommend early intervention if the patient has major problems like severe crowding, impacted teeth or an extreme overbite. Similarly, our orthodontist will want to treat a child early if their teeth protrude so far that they risk getting damaged.
Children with underbites, by contrast, may have to wait until late adolescence to get their teeth straightened via braces for kids. Their jaws will continue growing until that age, and that continued growth could undo the braces’ work.
What is Two-Phase Orthodontic Treatment?
Two-phase orthodontic treatment is a process used to treat children whose dental problems are caused by jaw problems. For example, crowding is often caused by an abnormally small upper jaw. In the old days, dentists used to extract teeth to make room for the remaining teeth. These days, we can use special techniques to enlarge the upper jaw and, thus, provide room for all of the adult teeth.
During the first phase of treatment, the orthodontist will use certain devices to correct the jaw problem. After the first phase is finished, the orthodontist will simply monitor the patient while the rest of their adult teeth grow in.
In some cases, the treatment administered during the first phase solves all the problems, and the child’s teeth grow in perfectly straight. Such patients will not need to undergo the second phase of treatment. Most patients, however, will need the second phase. The orthodontist will give them braces after their permanent teeth (except the wisdom teeth) have grown in.
Learn More About Braces for Kids
There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to braces for kids. We invite you to make an appointment at the office of Brodie Bowman, DMD in Niceville or Fort Walton Beach to learn more about how orthodontic treatment can benefit your child. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for your little one!