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Children and Braces: When is the right time?

Wondering what is the best age for your child to get braces? Our orthodontists at Village Orthodontics provide advice on what age is ideal for kids to get braces, what can be accomplished and the advantages of early treatment.

What do braces do?

Kids may require braces for any of several reasons, including crowded, overlapping, or crooked teeth, or malocclusion (commonly referred to as a “bad bite”). With a bad bite, the lower jaw may be larger than the upper jaw (underbite), or the reverse - the upper jaw may be bigger (overbite). The jaw may be too narrow, or developing too much.

Often, issues with teeth are an inheritable trait, so if you or members of your family wore braces, your child will likely need to as well. Sometimes, teeth are lost earlier than normal or habits like thumb sucking cause issues.

Braces are devices used to correct these issues by gradually putting pressure on the jawline to change the appearance of the smile and properly align the teeth. They are most often worn during the teen years, although more adults are getting them now, too.

Though they shouldn’t cause pain when being placed, there may be some brief discomfort following the initial install and after adjustments - some have described a throbbing or dull soreness. Any discomfort can likely be relieved with an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen.

What age should kids get braces?

We see patients ranging in age. Anyone with orthodontic problems can benefit from treatment at almost any age, but the ideal time to have braces placed is between 10 and 14 years of age, while bone and tissue in the head and mouth are still developing and it will be easier to straighten teeth. They are part of a second phase of early treatment.

Naturally, these are some of the most crucial developmental years for children as they enter adolescence and changes braces bring can be a challenge to their confidence at a time when many other changes are taking place. Families should discuss the matter before making the decision, but the earlier orthodontic issues are treated, the better chance for a positive outcome.

The duration of orthodontic treatment will depend on your child’s treatment plan. The more complicated the orthodontic issue, the longer your child will need to wear braces, but most patients can expect to wear full braces for an average of 24 months, followed by a retainer from anywhere for a few months up to a few years to ensure everything is in place.

What are advantages to early treatment with braces?

Though more adults are treating their orthodontic issues with braces, there are some advantages to getting treated in late childhood or early adolescence.

In the early teen years, the jawline and underlying tissue are still able to move around as development occurs. Once growth has progressed in adulthood and the jaw and teeth have stopped growing, some adjustments can’t be made with braces.

Braces are definitely worth the time and effort involved in treatment. Plus, braces are temporary, and at the end of treatment your child will have a straighter smile to look forward to. A properly aligned jawline changes the appearance of your child’s smile, and can even positively affect oral health.

Do you have questions about potential orthodontic treatment or getting braces for your child? Contact our orthodontist’s office closest to you today.

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Whether you're considering treatment for yourself or your child, we have an orthodontist waiting for you at one of our seven locations across Ontario.

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