With the need for braces, or invisalign aligners growing among children, parents may be worried about the dental problems faced by them as an outcome of incorrect jaw or teeth development. Whether it is an open bite or overbite, crooked teeth, or gaps, there is one concern that all parents share: what is the right age for your child to consult an orthodontist?
Orthodontics is a specialization in dentistry which focuses on the diagnosis, prognosis, and correction of misaligned bite and mal-positioned teeth and jaws. So, an orthodontist is whom you must consult if you’re contemplating orthodontic care for your child. It is important to know that, contrary to popular perception, orthodontics is more than cosmetic treatment, more significantly, orthodontic teams serve to address issues which affect the patient’s ability to eat, speak and breathe. You must consider consulting one if your child shows any of the following symptoms: speech difficulty, eating difficulty, snoring, breathing trouble, crowded teeth, misaligned teeth, out of proportion jaw and teeth, dark circles under the eyes as they could be caused by orthodontic problems.
Most orthodontics recommend getting braces for children between the age of 10 to 14 years olds. Dental braces shift the position of the teeth and correct bite which is why it is ideal to get braces at a young age, as children belonging to this age group would generally have all of their permanent teeth. Having most of their permanent teeths is an important determining factor in orthodontic treatment. The developmental stage of the jaw bone is an equally strong determinant because a fully developed jawbone which is no longer growing or forming would hamper the effect of braces. A developing jawbone is helpful for the teeth to shift easier, and correct most types of bite issues. Post-puberty positions of your teeth and jaw will be much harder to alter
Most professionals also suggest that although adolescence is an ideal time for getting braces, an orthodontic evaluation is best done before or around the age of 7. Getting an initial evaluation at this age will help you understand the risks and challenges your child is likely to face with braces as well as the suitable time-period to get one. Again, the best age for orthodontic treatment can vary from child to child. This is because children exhibit different growth rates, with some going through puberty earlier than others. And so, the 10-14 time frame is only a general rule of thumb.
There are also different treatment approaches which also decide when to start your child’s orthodontic treatment. A single-phase plan would not require your child to begin his/her treatment until the age of 10; however if your doctor proceeds with a two-phase intervention, the first phase of the treatment may start as early as 7. Early orthodontic treatment may involve wearing a growth modifying appliance, retainers, palatal expander, and partial braces. After the first phase of treatment, your child can move on to the second at the age of 10 or after. In addition to differing types of treatment, there are also options other traditional braces such as Invisalign aligners, which are invisible dental braces.
Although you can follow these general guidelines, it is best advisable to consult an orthodontist to find out the specifics of what treatment approach would suit your child, and what age is most appropriate for getting braces. A dentist or orthodontist will be able to provide you with their expert opinion also because they are well versed with the host of factors that affect the timing of the braces.