Another popular question I receive as an orthodontist is “Does my child really need braces?” The question of whether or not your child should get braces really depends on a few things.
1) Has your dentist recommended an orthodontic evaluation for your child?
2) Did you, your spouse, or another one of your kids require braces?
3) Do you have a concern with your child’s smile or bite (jaw alignment)?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you can probably guess that my recommendation is to schedule a consultation with an orthodontic specialist. An orthodontic specialists is a dentist who has received 2-3 years of additional training (beyond dental school) learning the proper way to straighten and align teeth and jaws. Your specialist will be able to provide a treatment recommendation and review answers to your question “should my child get braces.”
If your child is a candidate for orthodontic treatment, your orthodontist can recommend the best time to start treatment. As a general rule of thumb, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends evaluation no later than age 7 by an orthodontic specialist. Although we do not recommend treatment very often at this age, it is the first time your orthodontist will be able to predict future jaw growth and potential problems with tooth and jaw alignment.
Why age 7? It’s when your child will finally have enough permanent teeth in the mouth (6 year molars and some, most or all of the front permanent incisors). Prior to this time, it’s anyone’s guess as to where your child’s future jaw alignment is headed; and rightly so, prior to this age your child has predominantly baby teeth (and those teeth are going to fall out).
Still have questions? Check out my latest book “Stop Hiding Your Smile! A Parent’s Guide to Confidently Choosing an Orthodontist” or visit my website at http://www.burlesonorthodontics.com and sign up for a free report “The 10 Ten Things You Must Know Before Getting Braces or Invisalign.”
Here’s to your Spectacular Smile!