Braces were once something many teenagers had to deal with, almost like a rite of passage into adulthood. However, today, it seems as though orthodontists are putting braces on children at younger ages. This can leave parents wondering: when is the proper time to get braces for kids? Before parents commit to braces for their children, it is essential to understand the basics of orthodontics and when your kids should get them.
When Is the Right Time?
Just like many other areas of the medical field, when children need braces will vary, depending on the type of issue and other factors. According the American Association of Orthodontics, children should be evaluated by the age of 7. This is because most children will need treatment between the ages of 9 and 14. In most case, orthodontists prefer to wait until all the adult teeth are in place before starting a treatment plan. However, for some situations, such as an under bite, orthodontic work should begin before all the adult teeth are in place because the window of jaw growth typically ends around 10 years of age.
The Expense of Treatment
When children get braces before their adult teeth have grown in and they still have baby teeth, they often need to go through a longer treatment. In most cases, the NPR reports, they will need to wear braces for about two years to create the room for their adult teeth to grow in straighter. After this period, the braces come off for a certain length of time to give the teeth a break and allow the permanent teeth to grow in. They then will go through two more years of treatment. This creates even larger orthodontic bills for parents.
Why Are Orthodontists So Eager?
While some orthodontists may be eager to offer the option of braces as a way to make extra money, many of them simply want to make changes before children become too self-conscious. Many teenagers hate wearing braces and equate them to reduced levels of self-esteem. If children wear the braces at younger ages, they will have better teeth by their teen years. However, there are some situations that warrant the use of braces at a young age to prevent future problems with their teeth.
Is Orthodontia Purely Cosmetic?
Today’s society places great importance on looking perfect. The media is filled with skinny models with perfect figures and white, straight smiles. This leads parents and children alike to place a high importance on obtaining straight teeth. For this reason, many people consider braces to be a strictly cosmetic procedure. However, there are some problems that should be corrected by braces because they will cause serious issues with your child’s dental health if they are not handled properly.
Understanding braces and when your child may need them is essential to ensure you deal with any problems at the appropriate time. A visit to the orthodontist is a great first step to determine if your child needs treatment and if so, when is the best time for your child’s unique situation.