When should my child get braces?
Remember the days when braces were embarrassing, too expensive or an inconvenience to have? Nowadays, braces are one of the most common dental treatments, especially for children and teenagers, and there’s nothing quite like the confidence they can give your children with beautiful smiles!
A recent study from the Australian Society of Orthodontics (ASO) shows that 70% of kids react with happiness or excitement at the news that they need braces.
But as a parent, you’re likely to have many questions about the treatment – like whether your child really needs them or when the right age is to get them. Here are some questions you may have, answered.
1. Does my child really need braces?
It’s very common for children to have (at least some) crooked teeth, which can be caused by a number of reasons – including genetics, thumb-sucking, misaligned jaws or jaws that are too small.
The reason braces are now so accessible and common is because of our research that shows that crooked teeth are not just a cosmetic concern. Crooked teeth can also affect your child’s health, which is why it’s recommended to start correcting them before your child reaches adulthood.
Crooked teeth can cause an incorrect bite, excess wear (which can cause enamel erosion, decay and cracked teeth), speech difficulties, stained teeth (as they’re harder to brush), and periodontal (gum) disease.
Once parents understand that braces improve, not only appearance, but also health and quality of life, the answer becomes a no-brainer why straightening your kid’s teeth is so important.
2. Should I wait until my child’s baby teeth have all fallen out?
Children often lose their last baby tooth around the age of 12, however this isn’t always the case. So, no, you don’t have to wait until all of your child’s baby teeth have fallen out before you see a dentist about braces.
It’s worth visiting your dentist as soon as you begin to notice crooked teeth. It’s then up to your dentist to decide when to begin the process of braces.
Depending on your child’s age, you dentist may recommend you wait another year or so to give the baby teeth time to fall out.
However, it is also possible (although not very common) to still have baby teeth as a mid-to-late teen. In these circumstances, your dentist may suggest pulling the teeth out to begin the straightening process right away.
Intervention treatment can also be necessary – such as habit breakers or expansion devices. These are best done at an early age, so it’s best to take your child to the dentist early.
3. When is the right age for my child to see the dentist about braces?
There’s no right or wrong age to start the process of braces. However, the earlier, the better, to prevent further damage.
The most common age gap for kids to get braces is between 10 to 14, however many still start the process in their late teens.
You should base your decision on two things – when you begin to notice concerns and when your child feels comfortable visiting. On an interesting note, the ASO’s study also found that 94% of orthodontists have experienced parents bringing their children in for a consultation because their children actually want braces, not because their parents forced them to.
Nowadays, it’s also very common for adults to have braces as well. We give the option of clear aligners to both adult and some children patients. Clear aligners are barely visible and allow you to your regular jobs and activities without anyone even noticing.
Maryborough Dental is your trusted family dentists for patients in Maryborough and surrounding areas (including Tinana, Granville, Walkers Point and Island Plantation). We’re a preferred provider for major health funds – including Medibank, Bupa, HCF, TUH and NIB. For more, book an appointment here or call (07) 4122 2110.