At What Age Should Your Child Start Orthodontic Treatment?

children in a circle, smiling

Caring for the health of your children is a natural thing for any parent – they deserve the best, after all.

Good oral healthcare is no different; regular visits to your dentist should be part of any family healthcare plan.

But what is the best age to start orthodontic treatment?

It varies somewhat, so let’s look at reasons you might bring your child to a dentist at a young age.

When should kids see an orthodontist?

Many parents wonder if age matters when considering orthodontic treatments. After all, people of all ages wear traditional or clear braces.

But yes, it does matter.

Getting braces as an adult is certainly acceptable. However, early orthodontic treatment is best for many reasons.

Ideally, children should get a professional orthodontic evaluation between the ages of 7 and 9.

Through this evaluation, your orthodontist can identify and plan around potential issues, even before they lose their baby teeth.

If your child does need braces, the best age to start orthodontic treatment will depend on the specific issue.

Early treatment (i.e. interceptive care) gives your child the best chance at lifelong oral health.

If you are worried or would like to know more about bringing your child for an assessment, call our office, and we will talk you through the process.

The best age for kids to start braces & aligners

You can start the alignment process as soon as a child has lost most or all of their baby teeth.

This usually happens between the ages of 11 and 14.

Even before that time, however, preventive or interceptive care is a great way to nurture your child’s growth and development.

Dental appliances may benefit younger children in some cases, helping to minimize future dental issues. Additionally, early treatment can reduce the amount of time they’ll need to wear braces for in the future.

Then, once your child has grown most of their adult teeth, you can start them on braces or aligners.

Your child’s first orthodontic evaluation

Establishing regular care with a general dentist helps your child get used to going to the dentist, and building that relationship will continue to benefit them throughout life.

Not every child needs early orthodontic treatment, but an orthodontic evaluation is the best way to identify potential issues as they grow.

Types of early orthodontic treatment

Early orthodontic treatment typically includes:

  • Fixed or removable appliances
  • Palate expanders
  • Space maintainers

This treatment can be divided into two distinct phases.

Phase 1: Preventive care

In some cases, kids still have most of their baby teeth when this stage of treatment begins.

Interceptive care can address numerous common orthodontic issues, including:

  • Underbite
  • Overbite
  • Crossbite
  • Crowded teeth
  • Gapped teeth
  • An abnormal number of teeth

Phase 2: Traditional orthodontic treatment

Phase two begins once your child has all their permanent teeth. Also called full orthodontic treatment, this phase may include traditional orthodontic braces or clear aligners.

Remember that it’s never too late to benefit from orthodontics, even if your child didn’t get a complete orthodontic evaluation before they got all their permanent teeth.

Give your child a healthy start to a beautiful smile with early orthodontic care.

Schedule a consultation with Dr. Zuroff by calling our office or requesting an appointment today.

We serve the Tri-Cities area (Richland, Pasco, and Kennewick) and look forward to helping you achieve your dream smile.

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