At what age do children wear braces?
Braces are orthodontic appliances that are worn to straighten crooked teeth. There are several reasons as to why your child may have crooked teeth. At the initial appointment, your child will be assessed and examined for the following:
- Appearance of the face and teeth
- Appearance of the smile
- Presence of habits: such a thumb sucking
- Type of bite: whether all teeth are contacting normally
When your child needs to wear braces
- Crowding: crowding causes difficulties in brushing efficiently and thus needs to be corrected
- Spacing: spacing of teeth is an abnormality and needs correction. If not treated, it can cause drifting of adjacent teeth.
- To correct habits: such as thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, which if not corrected will lead to malocclusion such as an open bite
- Extra teeth: these can cause crowding
- Impacted teeth: these are teeth that are buried in the bone and need to be brought into the mouth by using braces
- Missing teeth: some teeth are congenitally missing
- Congenital deformities: such as cleft palate or cleft lip, small jaw or very big jaw
At what age can children wear braces
The appropriate time to bring in your child for an orthodontic assessment is when they are aged 7 years. This is the right age because at this time, we expect that the key permanent teeth that are used for anchorage of the braces will have erupted. However, there are certain cases where a child can be assessed even before that age. For instance, when your child’s jaw is protrusive, or when they have a habit such as thumb sucking of tongue thrusting, it is ideal to break the habit at an early age.
Length of treatment
Treatment time will be assessed at the initial consultation. The length of treatment depends on the severity of the problem. It also depends on whether your child will be compliant with wearing and taking care of the braces. If your child does not follow the diet restrictions that come with wearing braces, treatment may take longer. Benefits of wearing braces
- The teeth will be more straight
- No crowding, thereby tooth brushing is easier
- Long term jaw joint overload diseases are prevented