Around 50% of kids will need to wear braces before they become adults. It's almost as if wearing braces is a rite of passage for kids in the United States. If you have kids, then you might be wondering whether the dental issues they are facing can be corrected with braces. Well, braces can correct a number of dental issues. The challenge is figuring out when your child can get braces.
When Should You First Visit the Orthodontist?
You should take your child for their first orthodontist visit by age seven. However, this doesn't mean that you must ignore any visible signs of malocclusion because your child is younger than seven years. When your child is younger, their teeth and jaw will still be in the development stage. This makes it easier to address orthodontic issues like underbites or crowded teeth.
Most of the orthodontic issues faced by children are best treated after the permanent teeth have come in. The purpose of early appointments is to help determine whether your child will need treatment in the future. If you need help figuring out if the dental issues your child is facing can be corrected using braces at a later stage, talk to your child's dentist. They can examine your child and determine what's needed or refer you to an orthodontist.
What Types of Dental Issues Should You Look For?
You must also be proactive when it comes to your child's orthodontic needs. The best way to go about things is to monitor their teeth and check for misalignment. According to MedlinePlus, teeth alignment issues are usually hereditary. These are some of the malocclusions you should watch out for:
- The child has a normal bite, but their upper teeth barely overlap their bottom teeth.
- There is a severe overlap of the upper teeth. This is known as an overbite.
- The child's lower teeth protrude beyond their upper teeth and jaw. This is known as an underbite.
Your child should be able to bite and chew without struggling. If they have difficulty biting or chewing and they have speech issues, or a mouth-breathing tendency, this could be a sign that they have tooth alignment issues. If you notice any of these symptoms, you must take your child to a specialist right away.
The Recommended Age for Orthodontic Braces in Children
Age is not the only determining factor when it comes to when children can get orthodontic braces. However, there are some general guidelines that apply to the majority of cases. For one, many orthodontists believe that braces should be used in kids that are between the ages of 10 and 14.
When children are younger, it's easier for their bones to adjust. This is crucial for braces treatment because braces shift teeth and adjust the bite. It, therefore, makes sense to use braces in children when they are at a young age like this. By the time most children reach 14, they will have all of their permanent teeth, and this is an important factor when it comes to deciding the perfect timing for braces as well. For braces to be effective, a child needs to have all of his or her permanent teeth.
Another factor that contributes to when children can get braces is the state of the jawbone. Between the ages of 10 and 14, a child's jawbone will still be developing. Children at this age don't usually have a fully developed jawbone. A jawbone that's still developing is ideal for braces treatment. This is because at that stage, teeth will shift easier, and this makes it easier for braces to correct most alignment and bite issues.
However, just because children can not get braces until they are at least 10, this doesn't mean that your child shouldn't go for an orthodontic evaluation. You should ensure that your child gets their first orthodontic evaluation around the age of 7. This will enable the dentist to identify any challenges that your child might face and the best time frame for them. In some instances, the orthodontist can even suggest immediate braces treatment, or they can suggest waiting for a while longer.
Apart from helping to determine when your child should receive braces treatment, your specialist can also give you a lot of answers and helpful tips. This is why you should get an early evaluation.
How to Help Your Child Adjust to Braces
Children and adults handle treatment differently. While adults understand the benefits of treatments like braces, it can take a while for children to understand what's going on. As a result, braces can stir up a variety of emotions. As a parent, you must help your child by providing encouragement and preparing them for every step. From the first orthodontist visit to the final braces removal appointment, there are things you can do to set your child up for success.
It's important to get your child excited about braces. Even if they may feel a bit fearful of their new mouth accessory, you can come up with ways to get your child excited about braces. For instance, you can help them figure out what color bands are best for their braces. You can also remind them that the orthodontist office has some treats and video games. It's important to give them something to look forward to. If you can’t think of anything, you can also ask your child's orthodontist for some tips.
Another thing you must remember is to prepare your child for any pain. Braces can cause a bit of pain, so you must be open and honest with your child without making them too afraid. You must tell them that they are likely to experience a bit of pain and discomfort, but it won't be too bad. Stay ahead of the discomfort and pain with some over-the-counter pain meds. Your focus should be on boosting your child's confidence.
For any further questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team today.