What most parents frequently ask is «When should my child get braces?» Most of the time, the answer is not simple. Parents may get several different answers from orthodontists. This is because they may differ on their treatment plans and the severity of cases. So why this disparity? While there is no «perfect age» for braces, there are a few factors to help determine when a person is an ideal candidate for them.
It may not always be evident to a parent that their child needs braces, which is why an orthodontic evaluation is essential for children’s dental care. At around age 7, a child should be evaluated for teeth crowding, spaces or missing teeth, misalignments, and bite. All of these factors do not only determine whether braces are necessary but also to help support good oral care, address speech, pain, chewing concerns, or abnormal wear of the teeth.
Types Of Misalignment
First, let’s consider why a person might need braces in the first place.
Essentially, braces help with a variety of dental issues such as overlapping, overcrowded, crooked teeth, and bad bite, which is also known as malocclusion where one jaw is bigger than the other. You either have an over-bite (upper jaw is bigger than the lower) or an under-bite (lower is bigger than the upper).
There are four classifications of malocclusion to watch for:
Open bites: when the upper and lower front teeth fail to meet
Overbites: when the upper teeth protrude past the lower teeth
Underbites: when the lower teeth protrude past the upper teeth
Crossbites: when the upper and lower jaw fail to line up
Difficulty in biting, chewing, speech issues (including a lisp), or a mouth breathing tendency may signify abnormal tooth alignment. These issues are not just aesthetic. They can make cleaning far more difficult which can lead to worse problems like tooth decay and jaw problems.
Therefore, braces are made to help correct these problems by applying steady pressure to the teeth over time. The pressure moves the teeth back into the correct position.
When Is The Recommended Age For Braces?
Braces do not pick any age nor are they exclusively for kids but it would be more beneficial for patients to be treated at an early age. An ideal time for braces is between 10 – 14 years old when the head and mouth are still in the phase of growing and teeth are more conducive to straightening. While the best age for braces tends to be during the childhood years when teeth are developing, it is never too late to pursue a healthier smile. Nowadays, more and more adults are also wearing braces to correct minor problems and to improve their smiles.
What Kind Of Braces Will I Have To Wear?
Although dentists know what is best for the dental problem, the patients can often make their own choices. Braces generally come in three varieties. The most popular type are brackets. These are metal or plastic that are bonded to the teeth and are far less noticeable. The «lingual» type of braces, on the other hand, are brackets that are attached at the back of the teeth, hidden from view. Bands are the traditional type that cover most of the teeth with metal bands that wrap around them. All use wires to move teeth to the desired position.
How Long Will I Have To Wear Them?
The more complicated your case with spacing, bite problem, and the older you are, the longer the period of treatment it would normally require. Usually, full braces are worn between 18 – 30 months, followed by the wearing of a retainer for a few months up to two years to maintain and align tissues surrounding the straightened teeth. In a few cases, permanent retainers are worn if you do not want your bite to return to the way it was.
Will Treatment Be Uncomfortable?
Your teeth and jaws may feel slightly sore after every visit but the discomfort is brief. Be aware that there might be a need for tooth extraction in order to make room for proper jaw alignment. At each visit, the interconnecting wires are tightened and adjusted bearing mild pressure on the brackets or bands to shift teeth or jaws gradually into the desired position.
A healthy mouth does not only involve proper dental hygiene. Rather, it includes proper bite and aligned teeth too. There are many benefits of orthodontic treatment and it is important to start treatment at the right time. To begin creating that beautiful, healthy smile, contact us today!