Parents commonly wonder when their child should start wearing braces and the simple answer is that we almost always wait until all the primary (baby) teeth are lost and the adult teeth grow in. Once the adult teeth have grown in (usually by age 11-12 for girls and 12-13 for boys), we can assess if crowding or incorrect growth of the jaw warrants braces.
Children can be screened for orthodontic treatment by the age of 7 in order to assess if orthodontic treatment will be required. Early diagnosis can help dentists proactively guide erupting adult teeth into a more ideal position; it can also preserve or create space for permanent teeth and help reduce the chance of protruding front teeth. Early treatment is also advantageous for guiding the width of the upper and lower dental arches and reducing the likelihood of other problems such as impacted teeth. Early treatment can help correct significant problems and simplify future treatment but does not always mean that a second phase (full braces) of treatment will not be required.
Early treatment is not beneficial for all patients and a must be evaluated on an individual case basis. Some orthodontic problems are best corrected in teenage years when all adult teeth are erupted and skeletal growth almost complete. If your child is not ready for treatment but has problems that must be corrected, he or she should be placed on an orthodontic observation program. Come see our dentist for more information.