Like many other dental-related questions, the issues of braces is subjective. Some kids require braces earlier than others and some are lucky enough to never need braces. Genetics and oral healthcare also play a role.
Why Do Kids Need Braces?
Many people erroneously assume braces are simply a vanity or can only fix crooked teeth. Braces are not only important for dental health but for overall well-being. Aside from crooked teeth or gaps, braces may be necessary if your child experiences or exhibits any of the following:
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- Trouble chewing or biting
- Mouth breathing
- Finger sucking or other poor oral habits
- Crowding, misplaced or blocked-out teeth
- Jaws that make sounds, shift, protrude or are recessed
- Difficulty speaking
- Cheek biting or biting into the roof of the mouth
- Protruding teeth
- Teeth that fail to meet normally or at all
- Facial imbalance or asymmetry
- Teeth grinding or clenching
This list is not exhaustive, however. If you have questions about your own bite or your child’s potential need for braces, come see The Super Dentists.
How to Tell if Your Kid Needs Braces
Keep in mind that, as first teeth are falling out and adult teeth are erupting, those new teeth don’t always grow straight into their assigned spots. Often, they come in at an angle and straighten into position as they move and your child (and their mouth) grow. So please don’t panic or assume your child will definitely need braces based on the early appearance of adult teeth.
But if you notice the teeth are remaining crooked or out of position or your child exhibits other signs previously mentioned, it’s a great idea to have your child evaluated by an orthodontist.
When Should My Child See an Orthodontist?
While there is no exact age for braces, the American Academy of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends children visit an orthodontist for the first time no later than age 7. At this point, an orthodontist can evaluate a child’s airway, bite and oral habits. The orthodontist can then determine if braces or other orthodontic treatments are necessary, and when.
So, 7 years old answers the question of what age can kids get braces. But what age do kids get braces, at least most of the time? Most kids get braces when they are between 9 and 14 years old.
Regarding the side effects of braces, every patient is different. Some children require a different treatment protocol than others. Rest assured, we do everything in our power to lessen any side effects of braces!