Orthodontic braces are almost a rite of passage for kids today. A significant number of children will spend at least part of their junior high school or high school years wearing them. Even adults get braces, wanting to correct imperfect teeth or misaligned bites. When should your child be fitted for these devices? Is there an age that is too young or too late?
Why Do Kids Need Braces?
Orthodontic braces are used to correct a number of oral problems. Young mouths often grow at a different pace than their teeth. Teeth can be too big, too numerous, or too widely spaced for the jaw. If the jaws don’t quite fit together properly, a condition called malocclusion, the teeth can grind on one another incorrectly, leading to bite issues later.
Two of the most common malocclusions are overbite, where the upper teeth overlap the lower jaw, and underbite, where the lower jaw protrudes past the upper jaw. Both these conditions can be corrected with braces. Other conditions that may require braces include lisping, crossbite, and mouth-breathing.
Most children need to wear braces for about two years. Braces need to be adjusted every few weeks to ensure that the teeth and jaws are being repositioned to the correct location. Sometimes it’s necessary to remove a tooth to reposition others or to allow a permanent tooth to descend through crowded baby teeth.
When to See an Orthodontist
The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends taking your child to an orthodontist by age seven when most of the permanent teeth have come in. Sometimes, however, the reason for needing orthodontics is to allow room for the permanent teeth to descend. Children with large teeth and small jaws may need braces to help their teeth grow in straight.
Serious bite problems, such as overbite and underbite, respond well to traditional metal braces, while misaligned or overcrowded teeth may be better treated with Invisalign or similar methods. Part of the decision depends upon the degree of repositioning necessary to ensure a complete resolution of the problem. Very young children may not be good candidates for Invisalign because of the cost and the need for new trays every time a new tooth appears or the child grows another inch.
When you come to Babylon Dental Care, Dr. John Baker will take a look at your child’s teeth and jaw alignment and determine what type of orthodontic device would be best for your child’s needs. He will see your child as early as age two to check for any early signs of possible malocclusion or misalignment later. The earlier treatment begins, the better the outcome will be.
Call Our Office Today
Whether it’s time for braces or you just want to talk to Dr. Baker ahead of time, we’re ready to make an appointment and discuss options with you. Call Babylon Dental Care today at (631) 983-6665, and we’ll go over the kinds of braces that might be best for your child. It’s never too early to start working on your youngster’s healthy smile.