Braces seem to be a quintessential part of our pre-teen or teenage years. However, when should children start receiving orthodontic treatment, and is it important for them to receive braces at all? Braces are designed to straighten the smile and create a healthier bite. It’s important to see an experienced dental professional for any orthodontic treatment early, whether traditional metal braces or clear aligners like Invisalign.
According to the American Association of Orthodontists, children should receive an orthodontic evaluation by the age of seven to ten.
Orthodontics comes in two phases: Phase One for early interceptive treatment, and Phase Two for full orthodontic treatment. The child’s age will determine when to begin orthodontic treatment. For full impact of orthodontics, going through both phases is necessary for timely detection of jaw and bite alignment issues.
Phase One – Early Interceptive Treatment
This assessment of their orthodontic alignment allows dentist to determine the best ways to prevent the need for full braces for your child.
During this stage, young patients are monitored closely, looking at when and how their primary teeth are growing in and determining if there is enough space in their smile to fit their incoming teeth. Pallet expanders, which are attached to the back teeth, are used to expand your child’s growing jaw shape slowly. For baby teeth that are lost earlier than anticipated, space maintainers may be placed to make room for new permanent teeth.
Phase Two – Full Orthodontic Treatment
Teens between the ages of 12 to 16 begin full orthodontic treatment once all of their permanent teeth have erupted. This is when many patients receive their braces. Patients wear braces for anywhere from one to three years. The purpose of these braces are to improve alignment and function, as well as produce as more aesthetic appearance.
Adult Orthodontic Treatment
Orthodontic treatment in adulthood is typically provided for patients seeking an improvement in their smile’s appearance. Many patients choose more aesthetically pleasing treatment options such as clear aligners like Invisalign or Clear Correct.
Whether you’re a parent who wants their child to have a healthy, beautiful smile or are looking to enhance your own smile’s aesthetics, orthodontic intervention is an option for all patients. Contact our office today!