What is the best age for braces? When should my child see an orthodontist? These are very common questions we are often asked at Sky Ortho. For example, is my child too young to see an orthodontist? Or, when is the best time for my child to start treatments? Good news! There are some basic rules that you can follow to ensure your child is getting to his or her first orthodontist appointment at the perfect time.
Every Child Ages Similarly But Using Their Own Biological Clock
There is no exact day in the life of your child that is the right day to visit the orthodontist but there are some general guidelines. Most importantly, the easiest way to gauge timing is to wait until after your child has lost their primary (baby) teeth and the permanent (secondary) teeth are growing in. This is when many of the indicators or needs for treatment present themselves. For example, it may be a lack of jaw space which leads to overcrowding of the teeth. Consequently, this may result in an overbite or crossbite, or malocclusion.
Generally, age seven is a good age to visit an orthodontist in Shawnee. It is an age to spot indicators of what to anticipate as additional permanent teeth erupt through the gums.
Consequently, at this age, children are on the cusp of losing their baby teeth and permanent teeth are taking over. Although some baby teeth may remain, an orthodontist can usually gauge the need for further care.
Other Factors that Determine Best Age for Braces
Once the need is identified, the best age for braces is more easily determined. As a result, there are a few factors which come into play as to when is the best time to start treatment:
- Although there is not a set age to get started, customarily treatment can start once the child has lost most of their baby teeth. This can be anywhere between ages eight to eleven.
- While there may be initial discomfort, starting as early as possible, especially to correct a severe malocclusion, is best. An early start allows for correction while teeth and bones in gum tissue are still forming and growing. The older the patient, the longer it takes to shift teeth to their correct position. Therefore starting early can shorten the process.
- The severity of the malocclusion may also dictate when to start the treatment and the type of orthodontics needed. If only moderate corrections are needed, waiting may be advised until more permanent teeth have come in.
Family Background and Personal Behaviors can also Influence Best Age for Braces
Parents and caregivers can help by providing clues for the orthodontist about needed treatment and when to get started. For example, things like:
- Does the child suck their thumb or fingers?
- Is your child have any difficulty in breathing or swallowing?
- Does the patient breathe with their mouth open the majority of the time?
Many of these issues will be discovered by Dr. Patricia Larson and Dr. Ryan Fitzgerald during the initial interview. However, having an affirmation from a parent or guardian and commitment to pursue correction is vital to effective treatment.
A young child may not appreciate the reward of early intervention but, the results speak for themselves. Straight teeth provide the basis for excellent oral health while the aesthetic value leads to a lifetime of beautiful smiles. Contact Dr. Larson or Dr. Fitzgerald by calling (405) 378-4774 or (405) 275-3800 to schedule an appointment today.