Malocclusion, or an imperfect positioning of the teeth, is one of the most common oral health issues in children. In addition to being a cosmetic problem, failing to treat malocclusion could result in chipped teeth, speech impediments, and even difficulty eating. This has left many parents wondering when their child will be old enough for orthodontic devices and what they can expect during this treatment.
Understanding Orthodontic Treatments
Most parents want a specific age when their child will be able to get braces, but that is not always possible.
Everyone’s teeth and bones grow at a different rate, and this means that there is no set time in which a child can begin orthodontic treatments. Therefore, there are some signs that a parent should begin scheduling appointments with an orthodontist.
The average child will have their adult teeth start to erupt around the age of seven. At this time, issues such as overcrowding or teeth in the wrong position will become apparent, and the first appointment can be made to see an orthodontist.
The Best Age for Braces
There are some requirements that must be met before the orthodontist will feel comfortable giving a child braces. Not only should all of the child’s baby teeth been lost, but all of their adult teeth (excluding the wisdom teeth) should have erupted as well.
Girls typically experience this around the age of 11 or 12 while boys experience it at 12 or 13. In rare cases, children as young as eight will benefit from braces.
The orthodontist will also need to thoroughly inspect your child’s mouth for any other oral health issues such as gum disease or tooth decay that must be treated first.
Starting the Process
Ideally, your child will begin meeting with the orthodontist once or twice a year well before the braces are finally put in. During this time, the orthodontist will be able to track the development of the patient’s teeth and get an idea about which treatments can be used.
As the time approaches to have the braces put on, the orthodontist might suggest any number of lifestyle changes or additional orthodontic treatments to prevent future cavities or periodontal disease.
What to Expect
Putting on braces requires just a single visit to the orthodontist and can often be carried out in as little as an hour or two.
Traditional metal braces are comprised of posts that are attached to the teeth with a powerful adhesive and metal wires connecting each of these posts.
Braces work by applying pressure to the teeth to pull them into the correct position.
Patients with minor malocclusion might see results in as little as a few months while other patients will need to keep their braces on for three years or longer.
Once the braces are removed, your child will be able to enjoy a straight and healthy smile. For more information about orthodontic treatments, contact Runnels Orthodontics today.