While there is no exact age for children to begin orthodontic treatment, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends visiting the orthodontist by age 7 years old. At this age, most children have a mix of baby teeth and adult teeth and the spacing/crowding and bite can start to be asessed.
Early treatment allows your orthodontist to:
- Correct and guide the growth of your child's jaw to help the permanent teeth come in straighter.
- Regulate the width of the upper and lower arches
- Create more space for crowded teeth
- Identify possible habits that affect tooth eruption, jaw growth, and function (for example, speech problems).
For parents, it's not always easy to know if your child may need orthodontic treatment.
Here are a few things to look for that may mean your child needs to see an orthodontist:
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- A hard time chewing or biting food
- Mouth breathing
- Finger or thumb sucking
- Crowded, misplaced, or blocked teeth
- Jaws that pop or make sounds when opening and closing
- Teeth that come together abnormally, or do not come together at all
- Jaws and teeth that are not proportionate to the rest of the face
- Crowded front teeth around age seven or eight
Contact our practice to schedule an appointment for an orthodontic evaluation. Early treatment now will give your child a healthy, beautiful smile for the future.
Braces! What now?
Don't worry! Braces aren't nearly as scary as you may think. In fact, braces today come in a variety of styles, materials, and colors, making life with braces much easier, more comfortable, and even more stylish than in the past.
How long will I have to wear braces?
The amount of time it takes to treat your smile with braces depends on three key factors:
- Early treatment — Early treatment allows orthodontists to monitor the growth of the jaw and recommend further orthodontic treatment, if it becomes necessary. Not everybody receives early orthodontic treatment, and in some cases it may be recommended that a patient wait until they are older to receive treatment.
- What needs correction — The amount of treatment needed to correct a problem will determine how long the process takes. Different patients react to treatments differently, so while it may take one patient only 12 months to complete their treatment, it may take another patient 24 months.
- YOU! — Your willingness to use the appliances your orthodontist gives you plays a major role in the length of time it takes to complete your treatment. Always remember to take care of your braces, appliances and/or Invisalign. This truly will help make your treatment shorter!