Is My Child Too Young for Braces?
It seems like having braces is a rite of adolescence. Many people get braces to correct crooked teeth and misaligned bites – both of which can cause dental health problems, as well as cosmetic issues. Once your child starts to move into pre-adolescence, you may start wondering when you need to call your Gilbert dentist office to set up an appointment for braces.
Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to when your child is going to need braces. It is something you need to talk with your Gilbert dentist about, and ideally, that conversation should be part of a long-term relationship in which your dentist really gets to know your child’s dental health needs. However, here are a few things to help you better understand what to expect:
General Age Guidelines
Typically, your dentist in Gilbert is going to recommend that your child get braces when they have lost all their baby teeth. The second adult molars may still be erupting, but not necessarily grown all the way in. Usually, this happens when your child is about age 12.
The reason dentists use these criteria to guide the placement of braces is that the teeth have done their big movements, and yet the mouth is still growing and the teeth can still be moved easily. If you choose to put braces on too early, new teeth could erupt, which could require additional adjustments and prolong the length of treatment. If you wait too long to put on braces, the treatment may be more painful and it may take longer to correct issues.
There are exceptions that would explain why your dentist serving Gilbert recommends that your child be treated earlier than expected. Your dentist may recommend “expanders” earlier if there is severe crowding, crossbite or malocclusion issues. This “Phase One” treatment is usually done around age 8 and will take approximately 4-6 months to complete. Phase One treatment will minimize the length of time required to achieve optimum results when the child reaches age 12 and starts Phase Two (Braces).
If you are ever unsure about when to get your child braces, just consult with a qualified dentist at a dental office in Gilbert. If you aren’t sure about the information you receive, get a second opinion.
Length of Treatment
Your child may need to wear braces anywhere from 12 to 24 months. There is a big variation in the length of time because there is a big variation in the type of issues that may need to be corrected.
Often, people think of braces for straightening crooked teeth. But that is rarely all that needs to be addressed with braces – nor is it even the primary focus. Many people have issues with their bite, or the alignment of their upper and lower teeth. The upper or lower teeth could have a narrow arch, which makes it hard for them to align and causes dental health issues. Correcting these issues requires carefully moving the teeth into the proper position, and that takes time.
Other issues that can emerge include teeth that are jetting out and poking into the cheeks, lips, or other soft tissue. These teeth can cause sores, which can impair quality of life and lead to infection. Jutting teeth are also at greater risk of cracking and breaking.
At Gilbert Vista Dental Care with Dr. Rita A. Peck, we work to ensure the optimal dental health of you and your children. We’ll help you understand when the best time is for braces based on the particulars of your child’s dental health. Know, too, that it’s never too late to get braces! We offer clear braces (Invisalign) for adults who prefer discretion when they need braces later in life. Call our Gilbert dental office today to make an appointment and to learn more about your options.