There can be a lot of confusion and questions that parents may have upon hearing that their child needs braces.
For first-time parents, it can be difficult to decide if your child is ready for such a drastic change. Parents are generally concerned with their child’s health as well as any issues he/she may encounter in school or in society. Cost may also be a weighing factor.
One thing to note however is that having crooked teeth may be a sign that there are other developmental problems in a child, possibly involving breathing, sleep habits, or posture.
There are several factors to consider when making this important decision, and here are just a few:
Is My Child the Right Age?
If you have noticed that your child has crooked teeth, it may be time to visit your local orthodontics clinic. Experts recommend that an orthodontics evaluation is done before the child reaches age 7. However, most children do not get braces at age range 8-10. We view more children getting braces as they reach their early adolescent years at age range 11-13.
The child’s set of baby teeth should fall before he/she reaches age 12, and it is at this time that an orthodontist may consider giving the child braces if needed. By having a full set of adult teeth, the specialist is able to provide a more accurate treatment.
How Do I Know if My Child Needs Braces?
The human body’s cranial development slows by age 10 and by this age, the skull’s cartilage will have been turned into bone and the important structures of the face will have been defined.
If your child’s teeth are not properly aligned, this can cause cramped airway spaces, and subsequently, your child may begin to rely on breathing through his/her mouth, a behavior that results in health complications.
Other signs may include poor posture, snoring, poor sleep, and dark circles under the eyes. It is important to note that these signs may also be implications of sleep or breathing disorders.
Recognizing the signs is the first step to seeking the appropriate care your child needs. Your orthodontist may prescribe appliances to guide and align dental growth such as braces. Early intervention eliminates the problem at a young age and can make treatment more effective.
What is the Process of Getting Braces?
There are three phases to getting braces at a young age. The first is a simple evaluation in which the orthodontist will screen a child’s mouth to determine any potential issues, and then give the parents a detailed explanation of the treatment costs, times, and procedures. This may include extractions or surgery depending on the case.
Phase 1 treatment involves correcting obvious problems in order to make the transition to braces easier. Some problems that are addressed in this phase include a lack of space for the eruption of new or existing teeth, underbite, crossbites, or even protruding front teeth.
While some parents may be concerned with crooked or twisted teeth at this age and may want to permanently correct it, Phase 1 addresses issues that may arise with future development and focuses on fixing them. After the problems of Phase 1 have been corrected and the child is of the proper age, your orthodontist may move on to Phase 2.
Phase 2 is where the child will undergo a comprehensive orthodontic treatment. In simpler terms, this is where your child will be given braces.
One thing to note is that most children do not need to undergo Phase 1. If you are unsure of whether or not this is for your child, ask to view a radiograph of your child’s teeth to verify that this process is needed. If you are still wary, you may also visit another orthodontist to verify.
The best thing to do is to wait until your child is at least age 7 before visiting the orthodontist and undergoing an evaluation.