November 18, 2014
What's the Best Age for Braces for Kids?
Our Smile Team gets lots of questions from parents and kids alike who all wonder the same thing: when is the best time is for children to begin orthodontic treatment? While we can’t say that there’s one best age to begin treatment, since the ‘right time’ is different for every patient (and can only be determined on a case by case basis), there are lots of reasons why early intervention can be better.Something we can say definitively is that the best age for the initial visit to the orthodontist is age 7. Yes, age 7! That might seem a bit young to many, but in fact, taking a child for their first visit at that age is recommended by the Canadian Association of Orthodontists. This age is the best time for a first visit because it allows an orthodontist to assess the growth and development of permanent teeth as they’re growing in, offering an opportunity to address any complex issues before they cause long-term problems. The vast majority of children visiting their orthodontists at this age will not require immediate treatment, if it’s recommended that they eventually begin orthodontic treatment at all.Why can getting braces early be best? Some children will have more complicated issues, for example if they suck their thumbs or have natural crowding from narrow arches. Identifying these issues early means that children can take advantage of more minimal orthodontic appliances like palatal expanders, helping teeth to grow into better positions. Early identification of these issues can also reduce the need for braces or other orthodontic treatment in the future. As we always say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!What are the benefits of early treatment?Getting an early start to treatment can have many physical and emotional benefits. When children begin treatment earlier rather than later, it will have a positive impact on the stability of the final results. When the use of orthodontic appliances is tied in with a child’s natural development of their teeth and jaws, the desired results can happen much faster and your child can be less likely to relapse than if they’d begun treatment later on.Wearing braces early on can also contribute to higher self-esteem, as there can be fewer issues stemming from image-consciousness. In a study from the American Journal of Orthodontics, the results showed that the children as young as eight reporting an increase in happiness and self-esteem and a reduction in anxiety after improving their smiles.When your child visits Docbraces for their FREE consultation, we’ll determine if they’ll likely ever require treatment. If they could benefit from orthodontic treatment later in life, but not just yet, they’ll be enrolled in our Later Gator program, helping keep track of their development.If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of braces for kids, download our FREE Parent's Guide to Braces to learn more. Or, book a FREE consultation at your nearest Docbraces office.