Parents frequently ask “at what age should my child be examined to determine if he or she needs braces?” Your child should see an orthodontist at about age eight.
Most children start losing their baby teeth at about five years of age, and they have all their permanent teeth by the time they are 13 years old. Unfortunately, these permanent teeth often emerge crooked and they can also develop bite and alignment problems. Any one of these conditions can cause serious problems throughout your child’s life.
For one thing, crooked teeth, or bite and alignment problems can draw ridicule from other children, and diminish a child’s self-esteem, which is important for healthy emotional growth into adulthood.
Crooked and crowded teeth also hinder effective oral home care. Alternatively, straight teeth are an important aid in minimizing a child’s risk of tooth decay and periodontal disease.
Visiting a dentist twice a year allows dental professionals to monitor the development of your child’s teeth and enables early diagnosis of potential orthodontic issues that require dental intervention.
When your child receives what is known as phase one or interceptive orthodontics starting at about age eight, these orthodontic treatments help guide the growth of your child’s jaw and teeth, while simultaneously correcting any bite or alignment problems before his/her jaw bones completely harden. Braces can prevent the development of these kinds of dental problems, and therefore enhance your child’s self-esteem.
Of course if dental problems arise during adulthood, the problems can be treated, but waiting too long to address any of these common dental issues can make corrective treatment more difficult because a child’s jaw hardens completely by the late teens. Moreover, getting braces during adulthood may be too late to prevent some major dental problems because common dental irregularities such as overcrowded teeth worsen over time, and can cause sores in your child’s mouth, or cause her/him to repeatedly bite their lips or cheeks.
Some consequence of not receiving braces during childhood occur after one becomes an adult. One possible example is sleep apnea. Crowded teeth can hinder breathing by blocking the flow of air while one is asleep. This can initiate or worsen an existing problem with sleep apnea. Braces can reduce crowding and ameliorate sleeping issues or even decrease the likelihood of developing sleep apnea in the first place.
These are some of the reasons it is important for your child’s early development that he or she receive professional dental care from an orthodontist around age eight.