Children are often excited to get braces, because they will give them a distinct look while they are installed, and the end result will be a great smile. But what’s the best age for a child to get them? Additionally, how can you tell whether your child might need braces? Your friendly and affordable orthodontist at Valderrama Orthodontics is here to answer those questions!
When Can My Child Get Braces?
Most of a child’s adult teeth need to have erupted before they can be successfully treated with braces. Some molars might not come in until your child is in his or her 20s, so what’s the best age? For most children, the optimal time for braces is between the ages of 9 and 14. They will have lost most of their baby teeth and their adult teeth will be established by then. Some kids are even ready to start treatment at age 8, but that 9 to 14 range is the most common.
The major advantage of treating a child with braces at this age is that their bodies — including their teeth and jaw — are still growing and developing. The teeth are more pliable and can be shifted successfully, with really great results. The teeth “cooperate” more with the orthodontist when kids are in that age range!
This is not to suggest that adults can’t be treated with braces, too. You’ve probably heard of bride braces, invisible braces, and other types of appliances that are meant more for adults. We also have other options like Invisalign that adult patients prefer, since they’re very unobtrusive. We serve a great amount of children when they have the need for braces, but you would be surprised at how many of our patients are adults!
How Can I Tell if My Child Needs Braces?
Some of the signs that a child will need braces are fairly obvious to parents. If the teeth are coming in crooked or if there’s a gap between the teeth, those are obvious things that can be corrected with braces. Other problems that can be treated, such as a misaligned “bite,” are not always as easy to detect.
Ask your child if they feel any discomfort when they bite down on their food, or if they have trouble chewing. These can be warning signs that you will want to tell your orthodontist about.
This is why it’s so important for parents to bring their child in for that first orthodontic visit by age 7. Orthodontists are specially trained to determine how the teeth and jawline are going to develop when those permanent teeth start erupting. Dr. Valderrama will almost always be able to tell you wether your child is going to need braces after this first exam.
Another really important reason for your child’s first appointment is that if an orthodontic problem is identified, early intervention can be of great benefit to your child. For example, if the child will need more space in the jawline to prevent over-crowded adult teeth, some baby teeth can be extracted early to make more room. Sometimes early interventions can even eliminate the need for braces when a child gets older, or reduce the amount of time that they will need to wear them.
What Are the Benefits of Braces for My Child?
The most obvious benefit of braces for your child are that crooked teeth will be straightened, gaps between teeth will be filled, and they will have a dazzling, straight smile. Braces are a life-changing treatment for most kids just because of those things. But there are other benefits as well.
Braces can correct issues like a misaligned bite, which can lead to difficulty chewing their food, speech problems, and bruxism (grinding the teeth). Teeth that have been straightened are easier to brush and floss — for the rest of your child’s life. The teeth are also less likely to rub against each other, which can lead to cavities or infections.
Contact Valderrama Orthodontics
If you think that your child might need treatment with braces, or if it is time for you child’s first visit, contact us to schedule an appointment at our office. We serve patients in the Melbourne, Rockledge, Suntree and Viera areas — and we look forward to meeting you and your child!