We tend to associate braces with the awkward teenage years, and many of us have embarrassing yearbook photos to prove it. But a lot of parents don’t know that their children could need braces much earlier than expected. There are many reasons why parents should consider booking an appointment with an orthodontist before they are teenagers because braces are not always cosmetic. They can prevent a more painful and expensive fix down the road, or help with teeth that are already coming in.
If your child has most of his/her adult teeth in and you can tell that their teeth or jaw are misaligned, it might be time to seek professional help. Children as young as 7 can go in for a checkup, so don’t feel too concerned that they won’t take you seriously. Many orthodontists will do a thorough examination of the child’s mouth, including x-rays and checking on the jaw muscles. Children with overbites, underbites, and teeth that are too crowded or going to grow in crooked are a very common reason as to why parents choose to give their children braces at a young age.
There are many different approaches to braces or variations of braces. The most common version of braces includes brackets and colorful rubber bands that most of us had to wear growing up. There is also Invisalign, retainers, and even headgear (yup, it’s still a thing). These different options are going to depend on the child’s mouth, how old they are and the problems that require special treatment. Most little kids are not going to need a full set of braces to straighten their teeth, that comes later. Orthodontics for children are meant to be preventative, not necessary cosmetic.
Many orthodontists are switching to a two-step treatment method or the interceptive approach which requires that they treat the problem when they are younger, and then re-treat it when they are a little older. Many people believe that by treating it early, the second time around it will be much faster and less painful. Others argue that it costs more and is not as effective as promised because the traditional route still provides the same results. Every child’s mouth is unique and there are many reasons why they might need work done early. Your dentist can be the one to decide if they should be referred to a specialist, so it is best to consult with them first. It can be hard to determine if your child needs extra dental care, so it is best to leave it to a professional to save you time and money. If you have any questions or concerns, schedule an appointment today!