Orthodontics LA

When Should Kids Get Braces? Your Dental Questions Answered

Posted on January 25, 2021


The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children have an orthodontic examination and begin orthodontic treatment at age seven. Although an orthodontist might not take impressions of your child’s mouth for braces at that time, the orthodontist will examine your child’s teeth and jaw.

This early examination allows orthodontists to begin addressing any problems that might have arisen either due to your child’s growth or because of bad habits. For example, at this age, orthodontists can develop a treatment plan for children who suck their thumb, thrust their tongue, or just have misaligned teeth.

Although examination and planning can begin as early as age seven, orthodontic treatment might not occur until later. Here are some signs your child is ready for treatment with traditional braces or Invisalign aligners.

All Your Child’s Permanent Teeth Have Erupted

In some rare cases, an orthodontist might begin treatment before children have lost all of their primary teeth. However, in most cases, orthodontists prefer to wait until most, if not all, of a child’s adult teeth have come in. For most kids, this occurs between the ages of eight and 14 years old.

A few reasons orthodontists prefer to wait include:

  • The length of treatment can be extended if there are still moving primary teeth that will eventually fall out.
  • A younger child’s jaw and mouth are still growing whereas an older child has a more developed jaw.
  • Older children tolerate the braces process better.

This is not to say that younger children should never undergo orthodontic treatment. To the contrary, if your child has an orthodontic problem that can be corrected, treatment at a younger age can help both the appearance and function of the child’s jaw and teeth.

Your Child Can Take Care of Braces or Aligners

Orthodontic treatment requires the child to be responsible for taking care of their teeth and the braces or aligners used to straighten them. If a child cannot take care of the teeth or orthodontic appliance, your child could end up with a mouth full of cavities and broken appliances.

Some of the tasks a child must be capable of handling include:

  • Brushing regularly: Although brushing teeth with braces can be difficult, it must be done because the braces can trap food that bacteria can use to create cavities.
  • Cleaning thoroughly: Whether the child has metal braces or plastic aligners, they must be cleaned regularly to minimize odor and bacterial growth.
  • Being responsible: Rough play can break appliances and damage teeth, lips, and gums. Misplaced aligners can be expensive to replace.

Your Child Needs Treatment

Unfortunately, orthodontic problems do not fix themselves. If your child has crooked teeth, a crowded jaw, or a misaligned bite, they could experience pain in the face, jaw, and mouth and an asymmetrical appearance. For teenagers, in particular, this can make their physical, emotional, and social development even more difficult.

If your child has difficulty chewing or speaking, experiences pain while chewing, or is concerned about the appearance of their teeth, your child may be ready for orthodontic treatment.

Whether you need child or adult braces in Encino, make an appointment with our orthodontist today.