As the recent increase in adults wearing orthodontic braces has shown us, braces can be worn at any time in life. Even so, early orthodontic treatment is generally considered ideal because your mouth and head are still growing. Ultimately making this decision needs to consider the person as an individual, and it may involve factors other than simply the physiological.
Does My Child Need Braces?
Your dental practitioner will recommend braces if your child’s teeth are crooked, if there is crowding in the mouth, or if an over- or under-bite presents.
Characteristics that indicate your child may need braces include
- Front teeth that protrude
- Breathing from the mouth (or snoring)
- Baby tooth loss before the age of five
- Thumb-sucking in children older than five years
What Is The Best Age For Your Child To Get Orthodontic Braces?
Usually the ideal time for orthodontic treatment is between the ages of 10 and 14, because the teeth can change as the head and mouth grow.
This is also the time when young people become more self-conscious, so making the decision of when to go through with treatment should be discussed with your child and dental practitioner. For some children who might be teased, this is a good age to start with treatment.
The Benefits Of Early Orthodontic Treatment
Orthodontics Australia recommends that children are assessed for orthodontic braces between the ages of 8 and 10. By this age your child’s permanent molars and incisors will be present so your dental practitioner will be able to evaluate your child for bite issues. Your dental practitioner will take x-rays and scans of your child’s mouth to see how the permanent teeth are emerging.
Even though you might not go ahead with treatment immediately after the assessment, it will let you know in advance if early treatment is required – or if you need to plan for orthodontics later on.
What If My Child Does Need Early Treatment?
A child’s jaw bone is soft until he or she reaches the later teenage years – so early treatment allows us to perform corrective treatments that work faster.
How Long Will My Child Wear Braces For?
The duration of treatment is completely unique to the patient’s case. Once your child has been assessed by one of our dental practitioners, a treatment plan will be drawn up, which highlights the expected duration of the treatment.
This time frame could be as short as nine months and last anywhere for up to two or three years, depending on the complexity of the treatment required. In many cases early orthodontic treatment can shorten the treatment time.
That being said, there are adults who wait until later in life to correct their smiles, and may have achieved satisfactory results in 18 months.
The Benefits Of Orthodontic Treatment
If your child finds the idea of orthodontics unappealing, it’s important to remind him or her that the benefits of treatment are not only limited to cosmetic benefits.
Crooked teeth are harder to clean
– Straight teeth are easy to keep clean while crooked teeth are not. This makes them more prone to decay and infection.
Protruding teeth are at risk of damage
– Teeth that protrude are easier to damage and knock.
People with straight teeth are more confident to smile
– Often people with crooked teeth compensate by hiding their mouths or not smiling. This can affect your self-confidence and quality of life.
Caring For Braces
Once your child’s braces have been fitted, it is important to maintain excellent dental hygiene. You can support your child by reminding him or her to brush and floss as directed by your dental practitioner. Your child will have to brush after every meal, to ensure that food does not get stuck in the braces.
Some foods –like hard and sticky sweets and chewing gum- will also be off-limits.
Your child will also need to attend regular follow up visits, so that adjustments can be made to the braces. – and this is very important as your child grows. We will also schedule regular dental check ups will keep your child’s mouth plaque-free.
Still have questions about orthodontic treatment for your child? Why not book an assessment. Please contact our practice for the closest available appointment: (02) 8188 4625