Braces for Kids
Early Orthodontic Treatment Sets Your Child Up for a Straight Smile
An elementary-age child has a lot going on in his or her mouth. Teeth are falling out, adult teeth are erupting, and brushing and flossing are not necessarily consistent. It may seem like your child has enough to worry about with their oral health without bringing braces for kids into the mix, but early intervention can potentially save you time, expense, and effort come the teen years.
What Is the Best Age for Your Child’s First Orthodontic Visit?
Age 7 is the magic number for a child’s first orthodontic evaluation, according to the American Association of Orthodontists. Even if all your kid’s baby teeth have not yet loosened or fallen out, a review of their oral health by an orthodontist during this mixed dentition stage will give you an idea of what’s to come in the teen years, and whether you can do anything about it now.
Children differ in their physiological development, so a 7-year-old who shows no developmental or growth concerns at the initial visit may be told they don’t need braces for kids and to come back to the orthodontist in a year for a follow-up evaluation. Plenty can change in six months or a year where a child’s oral health is concerned.
7 Reasons to See an Orthodontist at Age 7
There are many benefits for your child to see an orthodontist about braces for kids sooner rather than later. Early orthodontic treatment:
- May reveal subtle problems with jaw growth and the developing permanent teeth that can be resolved with minimal treatment.
- May prevent more serious oral health problems from developing.
- May simplify treatment with braces at a later age, potentially making treatment both shorter and less complicated, which translates to less discomfort and a less costly investment.
- Offers the potential to get positive results with early orthodontia that may not be possible to achieve once the face and jaws have finished growing.
- Creates an opportunity to guide jaw growth, lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth, correct harmful oral habits like thumb-sucking, guide permanent teeth into a more favorable position, allow for easier biting and chewing, or alter the way lips meet for speech improvement.
- Addresses sleep and airway concerns early, including nasal congestion and asthma.
- Can improve your child’s appearance, preventing them from feeling self-conscious about their teeth and giving a boost to their self-esteem.
There is no guarantee that a second-grader with wonky teeth will need braces for kids. And whether your dentist has recommended an orthodontic visit for your child or you have chosen to make an appointment on your own, there is no guarantee that any orthodontic intervention will be recommended.
Understanding Interceptive Orthodontics
The goal of every orthodontist is to provide each patient with the most appropriate treatment at the most appropriate time. For some children, that means braces for kids, also known as interceptive orthodontics or Phase 1 orthodontics.
Interceptive orthodontics is a limited first phase of treatment that generally lasts less than one year. It is intended to address development and alignment issues while your child’s jaw is still growing and is more pliable to change. Early evaluation is a way for an orthodontist to alter what your child’s current dentition has indicated for the future and guide the growth of your child’s jaw bones to accommodate erupting teeth.
Treatment may include appliances like an expander, upper braces, a space maintainer, or a tongue crib. These measures could potentially simplify your child’s later orthodontic treatment. There is no guarantee that teen braces will be completely avoided later, but interceptive braces can address some bite and alignment problems, significantly reducing the intensity of orthodontics later.
Does Your Child Need Early Orthodontic Treatment?
You can find out now if your child is likely to need braces as a teen. You can make the process of wearing braces far easier for your child and potentially eliminate the development of an alignment problem with interceptive orthodontics.
Contact Dr. Soleil Roberts to schedule your child’s evaluation and learn more about braces for kids.