One of the most common concerns parents have when visiting their dentist is whether their child will require braces.
The first and most important thing to remember is that every child is different, which is why it’s so important to ensure your children visit the dentist regularly to check on their development and make sure any problems in the mouth are picked up early.
Generally speaking, orthodontic treatment starts between the ages of 9 to 12 years old, although, it’s not uncommon for treatment to start slightly earlier or later.
So, what are some of the reasons your child may need braces? There’s a number of factors, including your child’s oral and physical development.
Here are some signs that orthodontics might be an effective treatment for your child.
- Early, late, or irregular loss of baby teeth
- Difficulty in chewing or biting
- Mouth breathing
- Thumb or finger sucking
- Tongue thrusting
- Crowded, misplaced, or blocked-out teeth
- Jaws that shift, make sounds, protrude, or are misaligned
- Biting the cheek or roof of the mouth
- Teeth that meet abnormally or not at all
- Jaws and teeth that are out of proportion to the rest of the face
If you notice any of these problems, your child does not have to wait until the age mentioned to see their dentist. In fact, we recommend a child see’s a dentist by age one or by the time the first tooth comes through. This is a very important time to start the child’s long-term relationship with their dentist and dental practice.
When to visit the dentist for an orthodontic assessment
While people of any age can benefit from braces, we recommend children visit a registered dentist for an assessment between the ages of 8-10 years old. This allows the dentist to evaluate your child’s teeth and determine if they may need early treatment. This can include adult teeth and treatment whilst the baby (deciduous) teeth are present. This is known as phase 1 or interceptive orthodontics.
Your dentist will recommend a screening x-ray called an orthopantomogram (OPG) to assess the developing dentition and this is recommended for every child by age 8. This x-ray screens for presence of the adult teeth and the way in which the adult teeth are developing in case intervention may be required. This is in addition to your dentist being able to screen your child’s jaws for any pathology that can’t’ be detected from routine x-rays in the dental surgery (usually checking for decay) or from a visual examination.
Find out more in our blog article here
What to do if your child needs braces
Often, your child’s dentist will be the first to notice problems during a regular visit and recommend that your child has an orthodontic assessment which includes: clinical photographs and radiographs (x-rays) to complete an appropriate growth and analysis of the skull, jaws and how they relate to one another. The dentist can decide whether your child does indeed need braces and which devices would be best or whether referral to a specialist orthodontist is necessary.
What to expect at their first orthodontic visit?
At Empire Bay Dental our caring and highly skilled team led by Dr Andrew Sproll can take care of your orthodontic needs all conveniently onsite in the practice.
Dr Andrew Sproll has a particular interest and extensive experience int the area of children’s dentistry & orthodontics.
View Dr Andrew Sproll
The First Dentist Visit
At the first visit, the dentist will thoroughly examine your child’s teeth, mouth, and jaw. They will ask your child to bite the teeth together and ask questions about whether your child has problems chewing or swallowing or has ever had clicking or popping of the jaw.
The dentist may take X-rays of the mouth and teeth to see how the teeth are positioned and whether any permanent teeth still need to come in. They may also make a mould (or impression) of your child’s teeth by pressing a tray of gooey material into the top and bottom teeth. When the mould is removed and the material hardens, the result is a replica of your child’s teeth that will allow the dentist to decide which treatment options are best. They will also take clinical photographs to record the dentition and bite.