When Should Kids Get Braces
The most common questions we receive at The Super Dentists are regarding braces. We get it, you want your kids to have the best smile possible. But it’s hard to understand some things such as how old do you have to be to get braces, what types of braces are available and the right choice for your child (or you!) Then there are the other questions like how long will it take and how do you even know if you need to get braces for children.
Like many other dental-related questions, the issues of braces is subjective. Some kids require braces earlier than others and some are lucky enough to never need braces. Genetics and oral healthcare also play a role.
Why Do Kids Need Braces?
Many people erroneously assume braces are simply a vanity or can only fix crooked teeth. Braces are not only important for dental health but for overall well-being. Aside from crooked teeth or gaps, braces may be necessary if your child experiences or exhibits any of the following:
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- Trouble chewing or biting
- Mouth breathing
- Finger sucking or other poor oral habits
- Crowding, misplaced or blocked-out teeth
- Jaws that make sounds, shift, protrude or are recessed
- Difficulty speaking
- Cheek biting or biting into the roof of the mouth
- Protruding teeth
- Teeth that fail to meet normally or at all
- Facial imbalance or asymmetry
- Teeth grinding or clenching
This list is not exhaustive, however. If you have questions about your own bite or your child’s potential need for braces, come see The Super Dentists.
How to Tell if Your Kid Needs Braces
Keep in mind that, as first teeth are falling out and adult teeth are erupting, those new teeth don’t always grow straight into their assigned spots. Often, they come in at an angle and straighten into position as they move and your child (and their mouth) grow. So please don’t panic or assume your child will definitely need braces based on the early appearance of adult teeth.
But if you notice the teeth are remaining crooked or out of position or your child exhibits other signs previously mentioned, it’s a great idea to have your child evaluated by an orthodontist.
When Should My Child See an Orthodontist?
While there is no exact age for braces, the American Academy of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends children visit an orthodontist for the first time no later than age 7. At this point, an orthodontist can evaluate a child’s airway, bite and oral habits. The orthodontist can then determine if braces or other orthodontic treatments are necessary, and when.
So, 7 years old answers the question of what age can kids get braces. But what age do kids get braces, at least most of the time? Most kids get braces when they are between 9 and 14 years old.
Regarding the side effects of braces, every patient is different. Some children require a different treatment protocol than others. Rest assured, The Super Dentists’ orthodontic care experts always put the patient’s needs first. We do everything in our power to lessen any side effects of braces!
The Super Dentists is San Diego’s largest, most trusted & top awarded pediatric dentistry, orthodontics and parent dentistry practice and has six locations to serve your family. We’re here to clear up any questions you have about what age your child should see the orthodontist, how long braces stay on, the side effects of braces, orthodontic accessories, and more.
What is a Good Age for Braces?
At what age can you get braces? For children, most get braces between 9 and 14 years old. But adults can benefit from orthodontia as well, and there’s no right or wrong age for adults to get braces. As a general rule, once the adult teeth are in, braces are possible. There are, however, some rare instances in which orthodontics are appropriate earlier, such as before all the baby teeth have fallen out. It’s also important to know your child and if they will understand how to take care of braces.
Early Orthodontic Treatment
If you identify an issue such as the misalignment of your child’s bite, facial asymmetry or sounds in the jaw before your child turns 7, you don’t have to wait to schedule an orthodontic check-up. The sooner the child sees an orthodontist, the sooner they can receive orthodontic treatment.
Early intervention helps prevent a minor airway, bite or oral problem from becoming a serious, long-term issue. It also allows an orthodontist to correct an issue that cannot be addressed once a child’s face and jaw stop growing. The Super Dentists provides comprehensive early orthodontic treatment for children of all ages. There are many reasons why an orthodontist recommends early orthodontic treatment, including to:
- Create room in a child’s mouth to limit the risk of crowded, erupting teeth
- Improve facial symmetry
- Limit trauma to protruding front teeth
- Preserve space for teeth that have not yet erupted
- Reduce the need for tooth removal and/or jaw surgery
- Accelerate braces treatment time
- Correct a bad bite that otherwise may cause tooth decay, gum disease, accidental chipping, uneven tooth wear or speech impediments
Ultimately, an early orthodontic evaluation is exceedingly valuable. It enables an orthodontist to help a child identify oral health problems at a young age, so they can be addressed. At the same time, the evaluation ensures a parent can put the child on the right track toward a healthy, beautiful smile.
What to Expect During an Orthodontic Check-Up
An orthodontic check-up is a learning opportunity for the orthodontist, parent and child. During the check-up, an orthodontist can identify subtle problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth while baby teeth are still present in a child’s mouth.
In some cases, an orthodontist finds that a child’s teeth appear straight, and his or her bite is fine. Conversely, an orthodontist might recommend monitoring a child’s growth and development and beginning orthodontic treatment at a later date. In other instances, an orthodontist identifies a tooth problem that requires early treatment.
The Super Dentists create orthodontic treatment plans that take into account the age, medical history, and unique teeth straightening requirements of each patient.
Common Questions About Children’s Orthodontic Treatments
For a parent, helping a child achieve a terrific smile is a top priority. Yet determining the best course of action relative to a child’s orthodontic treatment is sometimes difficult.
A parent who asks questions during an orthodontic evaluation can take the guesswork out of their child’s orthodontic treatment. Perhaps most importantly, the parent can determine if they need braces for children or other orthodontic treatments.
Now, let’s take a look at some other common orthodontic treatment questions.
- What exactly are braces?
Braces are orthodontic brackets that guide a child’s teeth and bite into the optimal position. They are constructed from a variety of materials and may be used by both children and adults.
- What types of braces are available?
Oftentimes, kids require braces with brackets, wires and rubber bands. With these braces, the brackets attach to the teeth and are connected via a wire and rubber bands. In other cases, kids may qualify for clear removable braces. And some children will require headgear, mouthguards or other orthodontic devices in addition to their braces.
- How much do children’s braces cost?
The cost of children’s braces varies based on the type of braces a parent selects and other factors. Your treatment coordinator will explain the different options and costs to you, and answer any questions you have before scheduling orthodontic treatment for your child. Additionally, dental insurance will sometimes cover some of the cost.
The length of time a person needs to wear braces varies, but most children wear braces between 18 and 36 months. The adult average is 2 to 3 years. An orthodontist will see you or your child regularly to ensure the treatment stays on track. Plus, these check-ups enable an orthodontist to quickly address any problems that could otherwise slow down orthodontic treatment.
- Are there any side effects of braces?
The Super Dentists make every effort to lessen and eliminate any side effects of braces. We provide regular checkups and consultations to ensure side effects are taken care of as soon as they surface, as well as minimize pain or discomfort. While rare, potential side effects of braces may include: tooth decay, relapse (teeth reverting back to original position), allergic reactions and other issues. There may be some pain or discomfort when braces are first put on or after adjustments, but it usually resolves in a few days.
The Bottom Line on Braces for Kids
Braces are usually the last step to address a child’s dental issues. They allow a child to simultaneously straighten his or her teeth and minimize the risk of long-lasting orthodontic issues. And if a talented and experienced orthodontist, such as The Super Dentists, administers a braces treatment, you can rest assured they will do everything possible to ensure a child achieves the best possible results, as quickly as possible. Our revolutionary care techniques ensure every child who visits our San Diego orthodontists enjoy an out-of-this-world experience!
For parents who are considering braces for their kids or themselves, The Super Dentists is happy to answer any questions about braces to help you make informed orthodontic treatment decisions. To schedule an orthodontic treatment consultation with The Super Dentists, call us today at 1 (855) GO SUPER, (467-8737), or text 1 (844) 765-1234.