Misaligned teeth can lead to numerous problems, from difficulty speaking and eating to temporomandibular (TMJ) disorders. Therefore, it’s usually better to take care of orthodontic issues as early as possible.
But, when is the right time?
Keith Coe, DDS, of Stagecoach Children's Dental Center in Magnolia, Texas, is an expert in guiding children and parents about braces. While the optimal age for braces differs for every child, there are general guidelines that can help provide a framework. In this blog, Dr. Coe explains what those guidelines are.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children have their first orthodontic checkup by at least age 7. At this stage, kids usually have a mix of baby and permanent teeth, making it easier for us to diagnose any issues that might become severe later on.
Early intervention can correct a variety of problems, such as overbites and underbites, making subsequent treatments simpler and shorter. If your child is around age 7 and needs early intervention, we may consider partial braces for specific alignment issues.
By the time most children reach their tweens, most of their permanent teeth have erupted. Orthodontists generally agree that it’s best to give children braces when they’re ages 9-14. Two of the main reasons are the following:
The bones and tissues in the jaw are still growing during early adolescence, making them easier to manipulate. This can help a patient's teeth get aligned quicker and more efficiently.
While braces have become increasingly accepted across various age groups, they’re most common among tweens and teens. Having peers going through similar experiences can make the process less daunting for your child.
While earlier is generally better, it's never too late to correct a smile. Adult braces have become more popular as various discrete options, such as Invisalign®, have become available. However, adults may have to deal with longer treatment times than if they had their orthodontic work done as children.
Before your child gets braces, we first perform a thorough dental exam to identify and treat any existing dental issues, such as cavities or gum problems. Once we take care of any dental issues, we move on to discussing braces.
In general, there are two main options: braces and aligners. Braces basically consist of metal wires and brackets. The brackets and wires are then adjusted over time to straighten the teeth. Aligners, on the other hand, are clear, removable devices. With this system, your child gets a series of aligners, and each set is slightly different from the others. And, every two weeks or so, your child replaces one set with the next set in the series.
No matter the orthodontic issues your child faces, our team can discuss their options and design a plan to give your child a great smile for a lifetime. To learn more about getting braces for your child, call 281-688-1408 or book an appointment online with Stagecoach Children's Dental Center today.