Dr. Rubin and Dr. Sentelle take a few minutes to answer questions regarding braces:
What is the best age to get braces?
The most important thing to keep in mind, is every child is different! They go through growth spurts at different ages. So there’s not one “right” chronological age for orthodontic treatment.
Generally speaking, kids start losing baby teeth between the ages of 6-8, but all their back baby teeth stay in until around age 12-13! Most kids start to get their adult teeth in the front, between the ages of 7, 8, and 9, which gives Drs. Rubin and Sentelle an opportunity to start assessing what “Mother Nature” is doing. This time frame gives an important snapshot of what your child’s future might look like in regards to braces and orthodontics.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends children get their first orthodontic evaluation no later than age 7. But the ideal time to begin treatment is determined by the type of problem your child has, or may be developing, and your child’s stage of dental growth and development.
Dr. Rubin explains, “Sometimes kids may need orthodontics as early as age 7, 8, or 9. Sometimes maybe not until age 11, 12, or 13. Every kid is different! It’s so easy to get caught in the trap to say, my neighbor’s kid just came back with braces and they’re 7 years old, and my child is 9 years old… I’ve already missed the boat!“
However, age is not the only qualifier for braces!
How do I know if my child needs braces?
There’s more to orthodontic treatment than meets the eye! The purpose is to create a healthy, functional bite, that consists of proper tooth alignment, as well as proper jaw position. When teeth and jaws are in alignment, it means functions like biting, chewing, and speaking are improved, too. An attractive smile is an added bonus!
While most orthodontic issues are inherited, some are “acquired,” by thumb or finger sucking, mouth breathing, dental disease, abnormal swallowing, poor dental hygiene, early/late loss of baby teeth, injury or poor nutrition.
Signs your child’s bite might not be right:
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- Difficulty in chewing or biting
- Mouth breathing
- Jaws that shift or make sounds
- Speech difficulties
- Biting the cheek or the roof of the mouth
- Facial imbalance
- Grinding or clenching of teeth
Correcting these problems with braces will certainly create a beautiful looking smile, but more importantly, results in a healthier mouth! Not correcting a “bad bite” can result in further oral health problems, including:
- tooth decay
- tooth loss
- gum disease
- abnormal wear of tooth enamel
- affected speech and/or chewing difficulties
- jaw problems
Can I wait to see if my child’s teeth straighten as they grow?
No. Unfortunately, your child’s teeth will not automatically straighten as they grow. And the space available for their permanent teeth does not increase either. Untreated orthodontic problems can become worse, and more difficult to treat as your child gets older. Waiting until all their permanent teeth have come in, or until facial growth is nearly complete, could make correcting of some orthodontic problems more difficult. Some things cannot be accomplished once the face and jaws are no longer growing.
Routine dental check-ups are important to a child’s overall oral health! We evaluate their growth and development, plus monitor any developing teeth and jaw concerns.
Can a dentist evaluate if my child needs braces?
Absolutely! As part your child’s routine dental cleaning and checkup, Drs. Rubin and Sentelle also evaluate how your child’s teeth and jaws are developing. The wonderful thing about starting this process early, if a problem exists, or if one is developing, Drs. Rubin and Sentelle are able to advise you on whether orthodontic treatment is recommended, when it should begin, and give you referrals.
At Frisco Kid’s Dentistry, our goal is to keep open, honest communication so that parents can stay well-informed, have the ability to ask questions, and hopefully sleep better at night knowing their children are well cared for!
If you have questions or concerns about your child’s bite, overcrowded teeth, or want to know if they need braces, please call (214) 618-5200 during our office hours and our team will be happy to answer questions or book an appointment.