Is there a right time to get braces? Talk to any parent, and they’ll have an opinion for you. Orthodontist opinions can also differ based on experience, and all that can be overwhelming for a parent who wants to do the best thing for their child.
The Recommended Age for Braces
Many orthodontists start to recommend an orthodontic evaluation close to age 7 when most baby (primary) teeth have fallen out. The Canadian Association of Orthodontists (CAO) specifically recommends ages 6 to 8 as the ideal age range for evaluation. This age is when a child’s face is the most malleable structurally, when they will be affected by permanent teeth coming in. The orthdontist will look at your child’s mouth to see how the incoming teeth might misalign or cause a concern.
Braces are recommended for children once primary teeth get replaced by adult teeth, usually between ages 8 and 14. Since children are still growing, the body adapts to the change more quickly. However, an individual can get braces at any age. It only depends upon the dental concern itself.
The Traditional Approach vs. the Interceptive Approach to Braces
The treatment approach greatly depends on the child’s age and what’s happening in their mouth. The orthodontist will keep track of any misalignment of the child’s teeth and jaw as they grow. So, always keep up with your child’s checkups. The traditional approach to braces is to get them once baby teeth have fallen out, and do it all in one phase. A two-phase approach is also practiced, known as the interceptive approach. The orthodontist may recommend another orthodontic appliance first when the child still has some baby teeth, before moving on to braces. In theory, moving baby teeth around during the first phase helps offer room for permanent teeth to grow in. Orthodontists who favour the traditional approach believe that a one-phase treatment takes less time and money than a two-phase approach.
Who’s right? Two-phase treatment addresses skeletal concerns in the jaw at an early age. However, only a third of people who receive two-phase treatment actually need it.
To Get Braces or Not Get Braces?
You may worry that if your child doesn’t get braces now, their dental health may worsen later on. You may also be worried about their self-confidence: what if they are picked on?
Today, there are many forms of treatment available, some which are subtle and barely noticeable! Often, early treatment helps prevent problems from becoming worse. At Kids Dental Group we can offer various plans to help fit your child’s health goals and your financial budget.
You should also talk to your child, educate them about the importance of a healthy smile, and make them an integral part of the decision-making process. It is their mouth and their health, after all.
Don’t wait too long! Keep up with orthodontic evaluations to find the best time for your child to get braces. Contact us at one of our locations in Richmond Hill, Markham or Stouffville to schedule your child’s evaluation.