You may have noticed that some kids begin orthodontic treatment at a young age, and others don’t begin until their teen years. The answer is that each patient is different, and the exact reasons your child needs braces will differ from other kids. Any way you look at it, you and your orthodontist will likely share the same goals for your child of a beautiful smile, healthy teeth, and confident attitude. Wearing braces can often help achieve those goals.
Reasons for braces
There are a variety of reasons that kids can benefit from braces. They straighten overlapping teeth or move crowded teeth to achieve the best alignment. Underbites, overbites, and other problems related to how the teeth fit together can also be corrected. Jaw problems and palate issues may be addressed so that the teeth fit better in the mouth.
When to get braces
Many factors contribute to an orthodontist’s recommendation as to when your child might benefit most from treatment. Most experts advise an initial orthodontic screening around age seven, when permanent teeth start erupting. Sometimes early intervention is helpful with young children to guide the teeth, palate, and jaw during growth. Palate expanders are an example of treatment that should be done early for the best results. Early intervention isn’t recommended for all kids, because some issues must be addressed after growth is complete. Your orthodontist can identify any problems that might be treated and suggest the ideal timing for correcting them.
What braces mean for your child
Even though braces are very common among young people today, your child may still have some hesitations about treatment. Appearance is a normal concern, but there are new technologies such as Invisalign or clear braces that are less obvious than traditional braces. Fun, colorful bands may be enough to entice some children to embrace the look instead of fear it. Playing musical instruments is possible for kids with braces, and participating in sports is also acceptable as long as your child wears a mouth guard for protection.