Anywhere between 50-70% of American children will need to wear braces before they become adults. With how common this orthodontic treatment is, it’s almost a rite of passage for kids in the US.
If you have children of your own, then you may be concerned about any dental issues they’re facing as a result of their jaw or teeth growing incorrectly. Chances are, your kids may have to join the statistics of those who need braces or other orthodontic treatment.
If you’re wondering what the best age to get braces is, then read on. In this article, we’ll discuss this topic and more.
Orthodontic Treatment Is More Than Cosmetic
The first thing we need to address is that orthodontic treatment is more than just cosmetic. When you think orthodontics, you probably think of correction for imperfect teeth to gain a better smile.
While this isn’t untrue, there are 2 sides to orthodontics. One is for better aesthetics, but the other is to address any issues that make it difficult for the patient to eat, breathe, or speak.
So if your kids have issues that extend beyond unhappiness with the way their teeth look, an orthodontic appointment can be beneficial in addressing these problems.
Start Your Kids Early
As your children grow, it’s important that a medical professional monitors them to ensure everything is going accordingly. For their overall health, you probably bring your kids to a physician for annual checkups, starting at an early age.
This logic should apply to their oral health as well. We suggest you bring your kids to the dentist and/or orthodontist by the time they’re 7 years old. This is because around age 6 or 7, they start getting their permanent adult teeth.
Before your kids start getting adult teeth, you want to ensure their jaw and teeth are growing correctly. Otherwise, they’ll need more drastic orthodontic treatment to fix any issues.
When you bring your children in for regular appointments starting from a young age, a dental professional can monitor their growth and catch anything while they’re small problems. They can then practice interceptive and/or preventative care, which can save you lots of time and trouble in the future.
Best Age to Get Braces
The best age to get braces will depend on the child themselves. This is because everybody grows at different rates; some children will go through puberty quicker and earlier than others.
However, a general rule of thumb is your kids should look at getting braces between the ages of 9 and 14. Usually, this is before they’ve gone through puberty. If they’ve already gone through it, this means it’ll be harder to adjust their jaw and/or teeth, as they’ve already settled into their post-puberty positions.
Types of Braces
You may be familiar with the metal bracket braces, as these used to be the only option available. However, there are actually quite a few choices today that can make orthodontic treatment more customized.
In addition to metal braces, there are also ceramic ones and Invisalign. Read on to find out more about each type.
Ceramic braces look like metal braces, but are more inconspicuous. The ceramic is either clear or tooth-colored, which means you won’t notice them as much. This makes them perfect for children who are very self-conscious and don’t want to draw attention to their teeth while going through orthodontic treatment.
These are more expensive than metal bracket braces and move teeth slower than them. They’re also less durable.
Invisalign utilizes clear retainer trays that are made specifically for the patient. Because they’re completely clear and mold to the teeth, no one will be able to tell you have the retainers on, even if they look closely.
You can take the retainers out whenever you wish, which gives you more flexibility on the foods and drinks you can ingest.
However, this is the most expensive type of braces. Also, because the retainers aren’t cemented on like with the other 2 types, they can easily be lost or thrown away. Depending on the age of your children and how responsible they are, this may be a poor choice for them.
Today, many dental professionals practice interceptive orthodontics. This means they may not necessarily use braces on your kids while they’re young. Instead, they turn to other treatment methods, as your children will have most of their baby teeth still.
Once they’ve grown a bit and have a set of mainly adult teeth, then the orthodontist will start the next phase of treatment. In most cases, this will involve braces.
Because the orthodontist’s addressed your kids’ dental issues early on, this means that when they actually get braces, it’ll be for a much shorter time than normal. As a result, your children won’t have to go through as much discomfort. It’ll also make dental correction easier.
Signs Your Kids May Need Braces or Other Orthodontic Treatment
One of the most obvious signs that your children may need braces is the presence of crooked or gapped teeth. But these problems may not necessarily warrant the use of braces.
Some key signs they may need orthodontic treatment include:
- Trouble breathing (most noticeably, mouth breathing)
- Snoring when sleeping
- Dark circles under the eyes
- Difficulty eating
- Issues with speech
- Crowded teeth
- Misaligned bites
- Jaws and teeth that are visibly out of proportion
In an earlier section, we mentioned that you should take your kids to the dentist and/or orthodontist around the age of 7. But if you notice any of the above problems before that age, feel free to schedule an appointment. The earlier you address dental issues, the better, as it’ll be simpler to correct.
Schedule an Appointment Today
Now that you know there’s no single best age to get braces, the most important thing to do is get regular exams for your children. With some dental problems, if they’re caught early enough, they can be corrected without the need for braces.
Ready to take charge of your kids’ orthodontic problems? Then schedule an appointment with us now!