Good dental health begins early. The American dental association recommends that a child first visit the family dentist at an early age. This can help detect and prevent problems as well as maintain good dental health. Braces for kids may mean treatment in two phases, but it helps in certain cases to make room for the permanent teeth before that window of opportunity closes (typically, age 10).
Another important step recommended by the American Association of Orthodontics is for your child’s first visit to the orthodontist to take place when an orthodontic problem is first detected. For a jaw growth problem or tooth problem, it might be necessary for this first visit to take place as early as age 5 or 6. Treatment may not start at this time, but it is important to ensure that your child receives the maximum dental health.
A Good Rule of Thumb: At age 7, whether an orthodontic problem is detected or not, a child should visit an orthodontist for a check-up. This may surprise you since orthodontics is usually associated with adolescence and you’re thinking of braces for teens. But braces for kids are not uncommon and can also have psychosocial benefits if the child’s teeth are very crooked or crowded and he/she is experiencing teasing or bullying.
Your child may need an orthodontic exam if any of the following warning signs are present:
- Difficulty in chewing or biting
- Grinding of teeth, especially at night
- Mouth breathing
- Finger sucking or other oral habits
- Crowding, misplaced or blocked teeth
- Jaw shifting or clicking
A beautiful smile and good dental health make a difference in your child’s well-being and self-confidence. While braces for teens are more common, braces for kids can pave the way for a better final outcome as your child continues to grow and develop.