When is the best time to get braces?

Posted on: 30 December 2015

If you are a parent of a primary school aged child, you may notice that more children seem to be getting braces in the primary school years. There are several reasons why younger children might benefit more from braces compared to older children.

Early advent of puberty

The average age of puberty has evolved, and many children experience it earlier than their parents did. Orthodontics are easiest and most effective to place during adolescence, once adult teeth have erupted but the jaw is still growing. This makes is much more malleable, and it is easier change the positioning of the teeth. With a lowering age of puberty, many children get braces and spacers placed earlier to perfect their smiles.

Anecdotally, many parents also find that their children are less emotionally volatile and more willing to take advice from the dental staff and parents on the best dental hygiene practises, before they hit the more independent teenage years.

Better analysis of issues

While some issues such as an overbite are not improved by early treatment, other issues such as a cross bite or severe overcrowding are often best treated early. In the case of severe overcrowding, placing a palatal expander or other early orthodontic device can allow room for the adult teeth to erupt and grow straight. Other issues such an overbite might best wait until your child is older, and the adult teeth have erupted, to start orthodontic work. Over time the diagnosis and analysis of issues by dentists has improved and more children are getting referred for early dental interventions.

Social pressure

In some cases children are subject to social pressures such as bullying if they have misaligned teeth or a poor bite. Parents may opt for early braces even if they know that the children may also need later treatment if their children are facing these pressures and losing confidence as a result. Equally with the growing pressure on young adults to have perfect teeth, more and more parents are opting to get their children orthodontic treatments as preteens or teenagers, rather than waiting to have more longer and expensive orthodontic work as young adults.

Knowing whether your child would benefit from early orthodontic treatments depends on a number of factors. In order to assess your child's teeth you should have an early orthodontic assessment in early primary school so that you can plan ahead for any treatment that may be required. For more information, contact a practice like Orthoclinic Specialist Orthodontics

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