Getting braces is a common rite of childhood, and many of us remember the liberating day when we finally graduated to retainers. However, it can be confusing to determine the best time for children to get braces or orthodontic treatment in general, and there can be debates as to whether or not it is better to wait until all baby teeth have fallen out. Orthodontists can also have differing opinions as to treatment start time, adding to the confusion. However, the American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children should at least have a consultation with an orthodontist by age seven, which is the time adult teeth should have begun to come in.
Dental and developmental issues can be diagnosed as soon as adult teeth start to emerge; this usually begins taking place when children are about seven years old. An early consultation can help identify a myriad of oral problems, many of which can be more easily corrected at a young age. Childhood habits such as thumb sucking and mouth breathing can have big consequences for future oral health, and early treatment can help prevent more serious problems in the future. Early orthodontic treatment such as braces can not only help guide the healthy development of the jaws, face, and teeth, but can even prevent teeth impaction and jaw surgery.
Traditional orthodontic treatment typically begins after a child has lost most of their baby teeth, and the majority of their adult teeth have grown in. This is usually between the ages of 8 to 14, but having an early consultation can give the orthodontist, the parents, and the child an early idea of what the treatment will entail. Actual treatment start time can vary depending on the severity of the misalignment; more severe misalignments require longer treatment time and can benefit from early treatment, before the misalignment has a chance to further develop in unwanted ways.
Ultimately, the best time for your child to start orthodontic treatment will be completely unique to your child. Their oral habits, the structure of their jaws, and unique misalignments will all contribute to determining the best start time to helping them achieve a great smile. The whole process starts with a consultation, and an earlier diagnosis can be crucial to a successful, speedy treatment. Please contact our office at (310) 444-1113 or contact us to schedule a free initial consultation with Dr. Nikaeen.