Dental Development and the Right Time for Braces

Parents with more than one child who needs orthodontics will likely find themselves discovering that each child’s dental development will vary, just like the rest of their development. Gender sometimes plays a role, or dental genetics could impact the right time for braces. Here are some of the basics to know as you fill your schedule with orthodontic appointments for expanders, braces, Invisalign, or retainers.

Girls or Boys: Who Finishes Braces First?

Gender and dental development impact every orthodontic patient differently, so if your older son got his braces at 13, don’t expect your younger daughter to follow suit. She might best him by a year or two. It depends on each person’s unique characteristics. Generally, you can expect the following:

  • Girls commonly start and end dental development earlier than boys.
  • Girls may start losing baby teeth sooner and finish losing all their teeth earlier than boys.
  • Orthodontic treatment may start earlier for girls (potentially around age 11) than boys (often around age 13).

Of course, there are other factors that impact a child’s orthodontic treatment. Some kids need phase one orthodontics, where they are fitted with a palatal expander, braces on their front teeth, and a permanent retainer until all baby teeth have been lost. This impacts the entire orthodontic timeline, speeding it up for some kids and slowing it down for others.

Puberty’s Impact on Orthodontics

During puberty, the growth spurt kids experience is accelerated. Change occurs quickly and in multiple ways, including facial and jaw development.

  • If your child is a late bloomer, they may hold on to baby teeth for quite a while, which will push the start of their orthodontic treatment later than anticipated.
  • If some baby teeth are not coming out on their own or with help, your dentist or orthodontist may wish to discuss the benefits of pulling these teeth to make room for impatient adult teeth.
  • A child who already has an overbite, underbite, or other malocclusion may find that their problems are partially resolved after a growth spurt. Some dental development may get worse.
  • Early intervention usually helps orthodontic issues from taking over and minimizes the need for lengthier or more intense orthodontic treatment.

Orthodontists are practiced at predicting how teeth and jaw will move and recognize the braces or Invisalign treatment to come.

Is It the Right Time for Braces for Your Child?

It’s important to consider your child’s emotional readiness and ability to take care of their physical needs when considering phase one orthodontics or early braces. Some kids are more prepared for braces than others, not only mentally but when it comes to the responsibility of managing the care and cleaning of brackets, wires, or clear aligners.

Thankfully, children (and their parents) have options today when it comes to the look of braces, whether the hardware is metal, ceramic, tooth-colored, clear, or accented with colorful rubber bands. Every patient’s needs are different, and dental development plays a role along with comfort level and budget. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Soleil at Soleil Orthodontics in Woodinville, WA, to learn more about your child’s changing mouth and whether braces are right for them.

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