Did you know that over 3.5 million Americans wear braces?
Unsurprisingly, 80% of America’s brace wearers are minors. Braces are common among teenagers, children, and tweens.
Often, parents wonder when it is the appropriate age for their child to get braces. What age is too young?
Continue reading to learn more about the best age for orthodontic treatment.
Why Orthodontic Treatment Matters
Perfecting a smile early in life can help your child be more confident in their appearance, which in turn can help boost their self-esteem. More so, being proactive about your child’s dental health has long-term health benefits.
Orthodontic treatment not only fixes crooked teeth or gaps between teeth but can be essential if your child has complications with (among others):
- facial asymmetry
Recent research has shown that crooked teeth may be a symptom of incorrect jaw development. Without treatment, this can affect your child’s facial development, as well as their breathing.
Getting braces also can teach your child more about the importance of dental hygiene and health. Children who are properly educated on dental hygiene are more likely to continue healthy habits into their adulthood.
Braces are an investment in your child’s overall well-being. Dental issues that may have long-term effects can be corrected, your child will feel more confident in their smile, and your child will further understand the importance of dental health.
What Age Should Children See an Orthodontist?
According to the American Association of Orthodontists, most children should be assessed by an orthodontist by age 7. If parents notice an issue with their child’s teeth before age 7, it is important to seek medical attention proactively.
An initial orthodontist appointment does not mean that your child will get braces as early as 7. Orthodontists recommend assessments at such a young age so that they can better determine potential issues. By age 7, a child’s adult teeth will begin coming in and orthodontists can check for jaw misalignment, crooked teeth, an uneven bite, and other problems.
Some parents may opt to wait until their child is between the ages of 8 to 12 to visit an orthodontist.
When Should My Child Get Braces?
Orthodontic treatment and when your child receives braces will be dependent on your child’s dental development. In other words, every situation is different depending on the individual child.
Often, orthodontists suggest that children begin treatment between the 7 to 13 age range. While many children get braces at a similar age, no child is exactly the same.
Once your child sees their orthodontist, a long-term treatment plan can be developed based on their needs. Your child’s orthodontist will recommend when your child should begin treatment.
Braces May Be Recommended When Your Child is 7
If your child’s orthodontist notices a severe issue with your child’s teeth, he or she may recommend that your child gets braces as early as 7. It may be in your child’s best interest to get the problem corrected as soon as possible to avoid potential long-term damage.
If your child’s orthodontist recommends braces at an early age, do not worry. This is a proactive measure to ensure your child’s well-being. Depending on your child’s maturity level, explain to them that they are going to get braces earlier than their peers so that problems can be corrected before they become significant issues.
Can Children Get Braces in Their Mid-Teens?
Yes absolutely! As highlighted above, your child’s orthodontist will determine when would be the best time for your child to receive braces. Some children’s mouths develop slowly, and the prime treatment age may be between 13 to 16.
Parents may opt to wait until their child is older as well. Some children may be too scared for orthodontic treatment at ages 8-12 or too immature for the responsibilities that come with treatment (ex., effective brushing, flossing, retainer).
What Does the Orthodontic Treatment Process Look Like?
After your child’s initial orthodontic exam, an orthodontist will either begin to develop a treatment plan or request to see your child in a year or two for a reevaluation.
Once your child is ready to begin the orthodontic treatment process, you, your child, and your child’s orthodontist can select the kind of braces (ex., metal braces, clear aligners) your child will wear. The braces selected will be determined based on:
- health insurance coverage
- your child’s preference and maturity
Your child will then be fitted for their braces. Once they are fitted, your child will receive their braces. Throughout treatment, your child’s braces will be adjusted.
Orthodontic treatment typically lasts between 1.5 to 2 years but can last longer. In specific cases, children may only need to wear braces for a year or less.
After your child is finished with their treatment, they will be fitted for a retainer. Your child will be responsible for wearing their retainer as advised by their orthodontist. Wearing a retainer is imperative to maintain the work the braces accomplished.
Visit Wardlaw Orthodontics Today
Wardlaw Orthodontics is proud to serve the Little Rock and Conway communities. Dr. Wardlaw and the Wardlaw Orthodontics team believe it is essential to develop meaningful relationships with their patients.
We will ensure that your child is as comfortable as possible and will walk them through the orthodontic process. Care is at the heart of our practice and what sets us apart from our peers.
We understand that getting braces can be a scary experience for children. Our team helps countless children every year and makes sure to customize the experience for every child we serve.
To learn more about Wardlaw Orthodontics and how your child can get braces, we invite you to schedule a consultation today.