Most parents ask, “What is the best age to get braces?” Not only are most orthodontic problems more difficult to correct later, but the toll they can take one someone’s confidence and sense of self-worth can be devastating.
This is why we recommend ALL children be evaluated by an orthodontist by age seven.Just because kids should be evaluated does not mean that they will all need braces at this age. In fact, 9 out of 10 kids seen in our practice can wait until they are in their teens to get braces.
But if your child is one of the ten that needs early treatment, having them evaluated early could save your child from years of unnecessary orthodontic treatment and possibly thousands of dollars of treatment
Certain tooth and bite problems can only be corrected in a growing child. Once a child has stopped growing these problems may require surgery to fix or other time-consuming, costly procedures.
Once a child has passed their narrow window of growth, the treatment gets harder and usually costs more.
A few of the problems that are easiest to correct in younger children include:
Permanent teeth that won’t grow
Early loss of baby teeth
Plus several other conditions
Having malocclusion does not guarantee a child will need braces.
Frankly, this is what worries us about non-specialists like family dentists substituting themselves for orthodontists.
They may easily miss an early diagnosis of malocclusion, when it could have been averted without braces. Or they may leap to braces as the only way to treat all malocclusion.
Either way, you and your child lose.
The questions you’ll want to ask at an orthodontic evaluation, no matter who the orthodontist is, are:
Does your daughter or son have or show signs that they are going to have malocclusion?
If so, what is the best age to get braces?
When is the best time to get started?
The first full orthodontic exam should occur early in a child’s life to determine the best age to get braces. We recommend age seven for this evaluation. No later than eight, especially if there is a family history of malocclusion.
By scheduling early and periodic exams with an orthodontic specialist, you may avoid the need for braces and/or prevent more treatment and higher costs later in life.
What most parents fail to realize is that these treatment problems are urgent and should be treated as such.
If your child is not yet ready, you can get an estimate of when they will be ready for braces. You’ll also receive an estimate of any future costs to expect. This helps parents to know if they need to begin saving money for braces or other procedures in case they are needed.
If they need braces three years from now, skipping one Starbucks run a week for those three years can make a hefty dent in the bill to come.
Utilizing a Health Savings Account or Flex Spending Account can help as well. Ways to fund orthodontic treatment can be found later in this guide.
Children younger than seven usually have no adult teeth (or at least very few). Without a few permanent teeth to evaluate, it’s difficult to determine if a child will need braces.
When considering the best age to get braces, most children younger than seven aren’t mature enough for their mouth to handle them. Whatever tooth or bite problems they may have can still be treated affordably and safely when they are a bit older.
If, however, you have specific concerns about their teeth and bite, you can still have your child evaluated before seven just as a preventative measure. You can get your questions answered and create a game plan for any future necessary treatment.
If you haven’t had a consultation before age 7, the next best time for a full orthodontic exam is tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. 🙂 All jokes aside, now really is the best time to ask an orthodontist when your child should have braces.
If it is determined after the first consultation that your son or daughter does need braces, you will be relieved that you didn’t wait another day to plan for the future of your child’s health.
Now that you understand when kids need to have an orthodontic consult, we should talk about the differences between a dentist and an orthodontist.
You can schedule a 100% free consultation for you or your child with Premier Orthodontics to find out if and when your child needs braces.