Children’s Braces: Options for Younger Children

Posted on: January 17, 2017

Children's BracesWe offer children’s braces and other orthodontic solutions as a way to help young patients improve their smile and their bite.  We get a lot of questions from parents wondering what the best age is for children to start orthodontics process. This is different for each child because everyone matures differently and gets their permanent adult teeth at different times. As a general rule of thumb, however, we can begin treating children who are 7-years-old. This is not with braces but with other tools that help to prepare their teeth and mouth for braces. When it comes to actually fixing braces to their teeth, children typically need to be a minimum of 10-years-old, but commonly around 12 years of age.

Orthodontic options

Prior to placing braces, there are orthodontic options available to younger children. Perhaps one of the most common options is spacers. A simple metal band, spacers work to create or preserve space in the mouth. This is necessary when a child loses a baby tooth too quickly before the permanent tooth is ready to grow in. Spacers can also help create additional space in the mouth to prevent overcrowding. An expander is another solution that can create more space for permanent adult teeth. Children may also benefit from wearing headgear before they ever actually get braces. Headgear is sometimes necessary to move the jaw into position when a child is suffering from an overbite.

Again, each child is unique so we really will not know what options to suggest for the child until we examine the teeth. We will also let decide if certain procedures or solutions are ideal for the child at a particular age. If necessary, we will wait until the child’s teeth are grown in and mature enough for the specific treatment.

Children’s Braces

If a child has undergone early orthodontic care, it can reduce the amount of time they spend wearing actual braces. The amount of time we can save will depend on the child, the initial position of their teeth and the position of the jaw; all factors that we can go over during a consultation.

Most of our younger patients will wear traditional metal braces. However, technology has improved so the metal brackets and the wires are much smaller and thinner than they once were. More of a child’s natural teeth will show through and they will not have the proverbial metal mouth that was once associated with braces. In fact, many of our young patients actually enjoy wearing braces and the ability to select the color of rubber bands that surrounds the brackets. Since we change them out once a month or so, the child can be as creative as he or she wants and pick the color that matches the child’s personality.

When your child becomes a teen, they can qualify to wear clear aligners instead, if this is something they would prefer to do. We will go over all the available options when you schedule a consultation to discuss children’s braces.

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