Once your child enters adolescence, the thought of braces will start looming over him. He may feel nervous about how braces will feel and look, or if he will even need them at all. He might just be excited to get them on and over with before his high school years comes around. If you and your little hero are wondering what the best age for braces is, there is really no right or wrong answer. Some children can begin treatment as early as six in cases where an orthodontist recommends a two phase treatment for optimal results. Most kids will be fitted for braces between 10 to 14 years, but even adults can benefit from various treatment options.
Little Heroes Dentistry is not just your go-to source for pediatric dentistry. We also offer orthodontic services for children and adults throughout the Rio Grande Valley. We’re ready to help answer your questions about braces and other options, so call us today to schedule an appointment for your little hero, or you!
Why would my child need braces?
Your little one may need braces for a number of reasons – not just to straighten a crooked tooth. Treatment with dental braces corrects overlapping or crowded teeth and malocclusion. Malocclusion is commonly known as a bad or poor bite and occurs when there is a difference in the fitting or size of the upper and lower jaw. The most common manifestations of malocclusion are as a crossbite, underbite, and overbite. With a crossbite, the upper and lower teeth are not aligned through the middle, or the bottom jaw is offset to either side. An underbite happens when the lower jaw is bigger and protrudes forward, beyond the upper jaw. An overbite is the most common type of malocclusion and happens when the upper jaw is bigger than the lower. The bottom teeth are often hidden from view either partially or completely.
Dental issues that warrant the use of corrective braces are generally inherited. So, if some of your immediate family members have used braces in their youth, your child might need them, too. Tooth and jaw issues may also result from losing baby teeth too early either from an accident involving injury to the mouth or face or from a long-lasting thumb-sucking habit.
How do I know if braces are right for my child?
Your little hero should be well acquainted with his pediatric dentist by the time he loses all of his baby teeth. If you have maintained those periodic dental visits since your child’s first baby tooth breach, his dentist will be the first to notice problems that may call for treatment. Even if that is not the case, try to ensure your child is evaluated by an orthodontist by the time he reaches seven years of age or around the time his permanent teeth start coming in. The orthodontist can only make recommendations at this point, as it is ultimately up to the child and parents to make the decision about early treatment.
What type of braces will my child need and for how long?
An orthodontists specializes in correcting alignment problems and can decide if your little one will need braces as well as the type of treatment or device would be best suited for him. If early treatment is recommended, consider that orthodontic treatment at a younger age can influence jaw growth and reduce the risk of more serious complications as the permanent teeth come out. It can guide the permanent teeth into a better position as your child grows. This type of treatment on younglings is done in two phases. The first portion of the treatment uses orthodontic appliances which serve as a guide for placement as the permanent teeth emerge. The second phase involves full braces and is more effective in fully aligning and correcting the placement of permanent teeth.
Children mostly opt for metal braces with the traditional brackets, wires, and rubber bands. These work by applying steady pressure on the teeth over time. Headgear may be used in some cases, but this type of dental appliance is often used at night. Some adolescents and adults can benefit from clear, removable braces. These are plastic trays known as aligners that can significantly improve crowded or crooked teeth.
Braces are typically worn from 18 months to two years, depending on the initial severity of the jaw and teeth placement. The length of time an orthodontist assigns for braces will depend on the overall goals of the treatment. It is important to adhere to the orthodontist’s instructions throughout your child’s dental treatment. Non-compliance can only prolong the amount of time he needs to wear his braces.
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Opting for braces at any age is a major investment of time and money, and we would like to ensure that both of those are well spent and worth it. Call our offices today to get informed about braces for your little hero. Our team of local orthodontists can help you and your child decide on the best dental treatment plan for a happy and perfectly straight smile.