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Is My Child Too Young For Orthodontics?

Is My Child Too Young For Orthodontics?

If your child has teeth out of alignment, an incorrectly proportioned jaw, or other tooth or mouth issues, they might benefit from orthodontics. Orthodontic treatment fixes various tooth, jaw, and facial issues that can cause lifelong functional impairments and overall dissatisfaction.

You’re probably wondering what the best age is to get your child evaluated for potential orthodontic treatment. Pediatric orthodontist Gina Gill, DMD, partnering with our dentists at Yorktown Pediatric Dentistry in Yorktown Heights, New York, shares valuable advice on when you can get your child started with orthodontics.

What problems do orthodontics correct?

Orthodontic treatment addresses a number of alignment issues in the teeth and jaw. Correcting these problems helps address oral problems caused by misalignment, like chewing and speaking, while making your child feel more confident in their smile.

Orthodontics can fix:

Some problems with facial alignment or irregularities can also be corrected with orthodontic treatment.

Types of orthodontic treatment

The most well known orthodontic treatment is traditional metal braces. During treatment, wires permanently fix brackets to your child’s teeth, which realign your child’s teeth.

Other types of orthodontic treatment also can help your child, including Invisalign® aligners, which work like braces but can be removed for your child to eat. Your child might also benefit from retainers, spacers, and mouthguards.

The age to start orthodontic treatment

Your child can start orthodontic treatment at a younger age than you might expect. Our team can evaluate most children’s needs for orthodontics at about age seven, or when they start to grow some adult teeth.

At this stage, we can start to see if there are any developing or potential orthodontic problems. We then prescribe an individualized treatment plan, or an expected treatment timeline, for these needs.

Usually, recommended early treatments or lifestyle changes are less invasive than braces. Often, by catching problems early, our team can avoid your child needing more intensive treatments when they’re older.

If your child needs braces, those usually begin at an older age, after they’ve obtained most of their adult teeth. You can expect your child to get braces between 10-14 years old and wear them for approximately 12-18 months.

If you notice potential orthodontic problems developing and your child is younger than seven, it’s also possible to bring them in for an evaluation. For some children, orthodontic treatment can begin at an even younger age.

On the other hand, if your child is 14 or older and hasn’t started orthodontic treatment, it’s not too late to start. Your teenager can still benefit from orthodontics at this age.

Determining if your child needs orthodontics

Ideally, every child should have an initial evaluation when they’re seven, or start to get their adult teeth, to see if they might need orthodontic treatment. Your child might be identified as benefitting from orthodontics even if they don’t have any visible signs of tooth misalignment.

Even if your child shows no initial need for orthodontics, our team recommends continuing to monitor them through routine dental examinations to see if any orthodontic issues develop. That way, our team can address any needs as soon as possible.

It’s never too soon to start learning about orthodontics and the benefits of orthodontic treatment for your child. Contact us to learn more about how the team at Yorktown Pediatric Dentistry can help.

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