What is the Best Age to Get Braces for a Child?

As your child grows, their mouth, jaw, and teeth will grow and change with them. Especially as your child begins to lose baby teeth and grow permanent teeth, you may notice alignment and bite issues developing. It’s important to monitor your child’s jaw and teeth alignment as they grow, catching signs of trouble early! By the time (or, better yet, before) your child is 7 years old, you should schedule an initial appointment with an orthodontist to catch any problems early for the most effective treatment. But when is the right age to start considering braces for teeth and jaw alignment?

Your Child’s Initial Orthodontic Appointment and Assessment

While there’s no set age for your child’s first orthodontic appointment, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child see an orthodontist no later than age 7. This initial appointment will allow a caring professional orthodontist to assess your child’s teeth and jaw to catch early signs of teeth alignment issues and malocclusion. While your child’s mouth, jaw, and teeth have a ways to go with regards to growth and development, orthodontists can often spot signs of trouble in your child’s growth patterns and alignment.

During your first appointment and assessment, your orthodontist might not immediately recommend treatment. But they can give you lots of information and set your expectations for any emerging issues. If you see issues or issues are identified during dental visits with your child’s teeth or jaw alignment – like an overbite, underbite, crossbite, or crowded teeth – you should see an orthodontist as soon as possible. Catching these issues and starting treatment early could help prevent severe issues from developing as your child grows.

After your child’s initial orthodontic visit, you’ll be connected to a caring professional team dedicated to your child’s straight, healthy smile. Your orthodontist will recommend any needed treatments and let you know when the best time to undertake them will be and how long the treatment is expected to last.

When Do Most Children Get Braces?

Because every child is unique, every smile is different and every orthodontic patient requires individual treatment. Some children might need braces as early as 6 years old while others might be better off waiting until more permanent teeth grow in. Your orthodontist will recommend the best timing for braces or clear aligners to straighten your child’s smile as their permanent teeth grow into place.

Most children who require braces begin their treatment between the ages of 8 and 14. During this time, the growth and development in your child’s head and jaw are most conducive to straightening and alignment. The length of time for which your child will need to wear braces or clear aligners will vary according to the severity of their orthodontic issues and the natural growth of their permanent smile. The best age to get braces for a child is as soon as your orthodontist recommends the start of treatment, but the most common ages for braces are between 8 and 14.

What Are Some Signs My Child Might Need Braces?

While an early orthodontic visit (before age 7 or when any alignment issues appear) will give you the best information about your child’s teeth and jaw alignment, there are some signs to look for that may indicate your child will need braces at some point. These signs include:

  • Mild to severe overbite
  • Mild to severe underbite
  • Mild to severe crossbite (crooked bite)
  • Crowded teeth
  • Gapped teeth
  • Teeth that protrude forward or recess backward
  • Jaw pain during eating or chewing

If you notice any of these issues, it’s time for a visit to the orthodontist.

Friendly, Professional Care at Hodge Orthodontics

At Hodge Orthodontics, we’re parents, too! We understand that a visit to the orthodontist might make parents and children alike a little nervous. Our team has been recognized multiple times by Little Rock Family Magazine as the best orthodontist office around, and we provide friendly, compassionate, professional orthodontic care to all of our patients at any age. We will take the time to answer your questions, perform examinations to inform individualized care, and walk you through treatment options for a straight, healthy smile. Give us a call or visit our office to schedule your initial or follow-up appointment today!

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