When is the Best Age for a Child to Get Braces?
If you have a child, and your child has misaligned teeth, you are probably wondering when the child should begin orthodontic treatment. While there is no “magic age” when every child should get braces, it’s a good idea to see an orthodontist for an evaluation when your child is relatively young. Many family and pediatric dentists refer their young patients to an orthodontist at or around the age of seven.
If your child is older than the age of seven, but has never seen an orthodontist, do not despair. No matter your child’s age, it’s never too late to visit an orthodontist for an evaluation. Not all children will require braces at the young age of seven. In many cases, an orthodontist will recommend that a child wait until most (or all) of his or her baby teeth have fallen out and have been replaced by permanent teeth.
Ask Your Child’s Dentist for Guidance
Before you schedule an appointment with an orthodontist for an evaluation, make sure to ask your child’s regular dentist for his or her opinion on whether your child might be ready for orthodontic treatment. In most cases, a family or pediatric dentist is able to offer parents excellent advice on the approximate age that their child might be ready for braces.
One-Phase vs. Two-Phase Orthodontics
Some orthodontists regularly promote a one-phase or “traditional” approach to orthodontics, while others typically recommend a two-phase approach. A one-phase approach involves having a child wear braces one time until treatment is complete. A two-phase approach involves two stages of orthodontic treatment. The approach that your child’s orthodontist recommends will depend on several factors including your child’s age, the severity of your child’s orthodontic issues, and the orthodontist’s typical approach to correcting specific problems.
Type of Braces?
When it comes to braces, there are several choices. Most young children and teenagers get traditional braces, which typically involve metal brackets and metal wires. In some cases, teenagers can be good candidates for Invisalign™ – which is commonly referred to as “invisible braces.” Invisalign requires orthodontic patients to wear a series of clear aligner trays that gradually shift the teeth into the correct alignment. Many children are not good candidates for Invisalign because the aligner trays are removable and easy to misplace.
Does My Child Really Need Braces?
If you think your child has straight-looking teeth, you might initially believe that he or she does not need any type of orthodontic treatment. However, it can be hard for parents to see orthodontic problems that are not obviously visible by just looking at the child’s smile. It’s important to schedule an appointment and take your child for an orthodontic evaluation to learn more about the status of his or her teeth and the possibility that braces will be needed. Many orthodontists offer a free initial consultation and are happy to answer the many questions that most parents have about their child’s teeth.