When to Start Considering Braces for Your Child

Orthodontic experts recommend that children be screened for braces between their 7th and 8th birthday. This is the recommended age because the child’s permanent first molars and the child’s upper and lower incisors have recently erupted or will soon erupt. At Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida, we know the importance of a healthy, vibrant smile. For this reason, our pediatric dentists at Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida provide an orthodontic screening at each routine visit.

Issues That May Affect the Teeth and Jaw

Some of the issues that may lead to the need for braces include variances in jaw development and tooth eruption patterns as well as habits like thumb/finger sucking, pacifier use and/or prolonged bottle use.

Oral Health Issues Braces Can Address

Braces can address a variety of oral health issues, including gaps, crooked/overcrowded teeth, an overbite (upper teeth are somewhat forward, which causes them to bite over the lower teeth), an underbite (lower teeth are somewhat forward, causing them to stick out further than the upper teeth do), an open bite (some of the teeth are unable to properly touch one another) and a crossbite (misaligned upper and lower teeth).

Correcting Oral Health Issues is Essential

Fixing the oral health issues listed above provide your child with an array of benefits. For example, studies show that people who have healthier smiles are more confident and enjoy added success in relation to work and in their communities. However, correcting these issues addresses more than just the appearance of your child’s teeth.

Having straight teeth also makes it easier to speak properly (clearly), prevents chipped teeth and/or sore jaw muscles due to unnecessary pressure being placed on specific teeth. It is easier to clean straight teeth as well, which means the onset of cavities or decay is less likely.

The Ideal Time for Braces Depends on the Issue Being Addressed

Each patient is unique, which is why an orthodontic evaluation is the best way to determine if or when your child needs braces. Sometimes, just monitoring the growth and development of the jaw, and teeth is recommended. Other times, to achieve the best results possible, treatment may be necessary right away. As pediatric dentists, we are familiar with the expected development of the jaw and teeth.

Issues that May Warrant Early Intervention

Early treatment may be necessary if your child has any of these problems before all of his or her permanent teeth have erupted: severe overcrowding; bite problems; an issue related to the eruption of his or her permanent teeth; unnecessary additional teeth; or missing teeth.

Potential benefits of early treatment include the ability to guide jaw growth, correct oral habits that are harming the teeth, lower the risk of a trauma occurring to protruding front teeth, enhance your child’s smile and improve the function of your child’s bite.

In some cases, early orthodontic treatment may actually prevent a future problem from developing, decrease the amount of time that treatment is necessary when the child is older, make future any treatment less complicated or avoid the need for future treatment altogether. Moreover, there are situations when an orthodontist must address issues as the face and jaws are still forming. With the benefit of early, routine orthodontic evaluations at Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida, you provide your child with his or her best chance for a healthy, vibrant smile.

Early Treatment is Not Always Necessary

Conversely, there might be problems that early treatment cannot address or a problem that does not warrant immediate treatment. In these cases, orthodontic treatment may be delayed until the child’s permanent teeth have erupted.

Generally speaking, there is not one answer as to the time it is best for a child to get braces. However, at Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida, there is no need for you to worry because we are evaluating your child’s jaw and teeth for orthodontic issues at every appointment. If your child is in need of dental care, contact one of our offices today. At each of our locations, we offer a warm, friendly environment that is designed with children in mind. If you would like to schedule an appointment at our St. Cloud, Fla. office, please call 407-593-8900 or, for our Maitland, Fla. office, please call 407-628-2286.