One question that many parents face is what is the best age for their child to have orthodontic treatment?. If orthodontic appliances are placed too early treatment may be required again later in life and if you get them too late they may need to be worn for a longer period of time.
Unfortunately, there is no universal right answer to this question. We can, however, draw from our years of experience to help provide some additional factors when deciding on the best age for braces.
Early Intervention - Ages 7-9 years
We recommend having a child evaluated for braces as yearly as age 7. This does not mean that braces will be applied this early but rather give you an indication of what future treatment may be required.
By age 7, most baby teeth have started to come through and an orthodontist can get a good indication of what the alignment of permanent teeth will look like. In some cases, braces or partial teeth aligners may be recommended at this stage if a child is having difficulty talking or eating due to poor teeth alignment.
A child may also be a suitable candidate for braces if he or she has protruding teeth, a crossbite or tooth crowding. By assessing and treating these issues earlier rather than later you can help to prevent these issues from becoming worse when permanent teeth eventually arrive.
Prime Treatment Time - 10-14 years
At this age, most children will have orthodontic treatment started as baby teeth have been shed and the jaw is now stable enough to support long-term orthodontic treatment.
Orthodontics now come in several varieties from traditional metal brackets, ceramics and now invisible retainers. What used to be embarrassing about wearing braces has now largely been eliminated due to the prevalence of braces amongst adolescents, but it is important for parents to discuss with their child the changes to his or her appearance.
Between the ages of 10-14 years, most children are responsible enough to manage their dental appliances without the supervision of an adult. The average time spent in orthodontic treatment is between 12-24 months.
Once orthodontic appliances are removed, a retainer will be issued to help keep the teeth in the correct alignment and prevent relapse.
Older Options 14 +
Contrary to what you may think, you are never too old for orthodontics. Many adults do not have access to orthodontics as children or delay having treatment for various reasons.
Think of teeth the way you would any other bone in your body. They do stop growing at the end of adolescents, but it is still possible to correct the alignment of your teeth. For instance, if you break your arm, it is placed in a cast to heal. Teeth are no different.
It is important to keep in mind that you are only in treatment temporarily and the sacrifice you make now will pay off in the long-term. Wearing orthodontic appliances for a few years can save you from more serious dental complications down the road.
How do I assess whether I need orthodontic treatment?
The best way to know whether orthodontic treatment is right for you is to have a dentist assess you. We treat patients of all ages.
To schedule, an appointment for an orthodontic consultation click the link below or call one of our reception team on 9382 8266.