A: There are many reasons why a child might benefit from braces. The American orthodontic association recommends that children should have an orthodontic evaluation at about the age of 7. It is at this time the development of the jaws and dental arches can be assessed more accurately according to recent research. Some problems are best treated as early as possible even when it is still mostly baby teeth in place (ages 6-9). Sometimes it is best to wait until most of the baby teeth have fallen out (ages 10-13). If your child is getting regular dental visits, your dentist will be able to determine when it’s time for minor intervention or a full evaluation for braces.
* Early, late, or irregular loss of baby teeth
* Difficulty in chewing or biting
* Crowding, misplaced, or blocked-out teeth
* Jaws that shift or make sounds
* Biting the cheek or roof of the mouth
* Teeth that meet abnormally or not at all
* Jaws and teeth that are out of proportion to the rest of the face
A: While genetics may play a part in this, it is becoming more prevalent that environmental and behavioural factors such as thumb- or finger-sucking, mouth breathing, dental decay, accidents, or poor nutrition are to blame . Any one of these factors may lead to the underdevelopment of the jaws and if there is not enough room in the jaws for the teeth, they become tilted or crooked and/or the jaws may not be aligned properly
Q: At what age should my child be assessed for braces?
A: Assessment of your child’s facial and dental growth and development may occur at any stages of dental development. Some children may benefit from an orthodontic evaluation as young as age 5 or 6 and others can wait until the baby teeth have fallen out and the permanent teeth are coming into place (ages 10-13). Your general or paediatric dentist will help you determine the best time for evaluation and treatment. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends a first evaluation visit to the orthodontist no later than age 7.
A: The best age varies from patient to patient. Orthodontic treatment most commonly begins between ages 8 and 14. Kids in this age range have at least some permanent teeth and are still growing. Some problems, however, are best addressed early, even while mostly baby teeth are present. This can be very cost effective long term and with greater health benefits.
“AAO – A Beautiful Smile For Everyone” American Association of Orthodontists. www.youtube.com/watch?v=D41oX_PnAvA Accessed 2013.
“Braces.” Mouth Healthy, American Dental Association. www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/b/braces Accessed 2013.