If your child has a bad bite, misaligned teeth, or other types of tooth-related problems, he or she may need braces. Many kids will start asking if they can get braces as soon as other kids in their class do, and you might be wondering when the right age is for braces. While there is no magical answer for this, you can visit an orthodontist to find out, and he or she will base this decision on the child's teeth and overall development.
When should you go for an initial consultation?
Mayo Clinic recommends taking a child to the orthodontist for the first time around the age of 7. At this age, a child will most likely still have a lot of baby teeth; however, he or she should have some permanent too. If a child has really bad bite issues, or if the child appears to have really overcrowded teeth, the family dentist could start orthodontic treatment right away by using some type of dental appliance, such as a retainer. The use of a retainer can help the child's teeth grow in a little straighter, and it can also help correct jaw issues. This is not typically needed, but it can be for children with major issues.
If your child does not have major problems, the dentist may suggest returning in a couple of years for another evaluation. If the orthodontist sees major issues, he or she may suggest starting treatment right away.
What steps will the orthodontist take during an evaluation?
If you return in a couple of years, the orthodontist will again evaluate your child's teeth to determine if he or she is ready for braces. To find this out, they may take x-rays and impressions of your child's teeth and mouth. A child is typically ready for braces when he or she has mostly all permanent teeth, when the child has a need for braces, and when the child's jawbone is almost fully developed.
Braces are often placed on kids by the age of 14, but there are times when it happens much sooner than this. Every child is different, and you should take the advice the orthodontist gives you when you meet for an initial consultation.
Braces can make a huge difference with the way a child's teeth and mouth look, and you can learn more about braces by scheduling a consultation visit with an orthodontist in your city.