Orthodontic treatment is an important part of growth and development for many children. It is rare for the teeth to come in in proper alignment without some intervention. Braces are the most common orthodontic treatment for children and teenagers.
What’s the best age for a child to get braces? It depends on the child’s individual needs as well as other factors. Here’s what you need to know about starting orthodontic treatment for your child.
Average Age for Orthodontic Treatment
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children have an orthodontic evaluation by the age of 7. This provides an early assessment of the position of the teeth, the shape of the jaw, and how the top and bottom teeth meet together. Many children will not need any treatment at this age, but some may need early intervention or growth modification. By treating orthodontic issues early, it can shorten the length of future orthodontic treatment and in some cases prevent it.
Average Age for Braces
Braces treatment often begins in the adolescent years, around the age of 11 or 12. By this time most of the baby teeth have been shed and the permanent teeth are in place. There is a wide variation in the age at which teeth erupt, and some patients may be older than 11 or 12 when they are ready to begin orthodontic treatment. Adolescence is also a time of significant growth spurts, which braces can take advantage of. While the body is growing and developing, the bones and ligaments are more malleable, making it easier for braces to shift the teeth and reshape the jaw.
How Long Will Braces Treatment Take?
The average length of braces treatment is 1-3 years. This means that your child may get braces around the age of 11 or 12 and may still be wearing braces by the age of 13 or 14, sometimes longer. The more significant movements the teeth require to reach the proper position, the longer treatment may take. Minor orthodontic corrections will take less time. Patients who have had early treatment may have a shorter braces treatment time.
Is it Ever Too Late for Braces?
Braces treatment can begin at any age. While adolescence is the most common age, and perhaps the most ideal age, it is never too late to get braces. Many older teens and even adults decide to get braces later in life. Braces serve both a dental health purpose and cosmetic purpose. Properly aligned teeth are easier to keep clean and look better.
Are There Alternatives to Braces?
Braces are not the only orthodontic treatment option available. Clear aligner treatment is an alternative to braces that shifts the teeth into proper alignment. The aligners are virtually invisible on the teeth, making it possible to straighten the teeth more discreetly. They are also removable, so you can eat normally and clean your teeth more easily and effectively. However, not everyone is a candidate for clear aligner treatment. Your orthodontist can evaluate your teeth and make a recommendation for the best course of treatment.
Dr. Suzanne Stock Provides Orthodontic Treatment
If your child is 7 years old or older, or if your dentist has recommended it, it would be a good idea to schedule an orthodontic evaluation. Even if your child doesn’t need treatment yet, Dr. Stock can monitor their growth and development until the appropriate time for treatment to begin.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment at the location that is most convenient for you.