How Young is Too Young for Braces?

If you’re noticing more kids wearing braces at a younger age, you might be thinking you should do the same for your children. The earlier the better, right?

But on the other hand, you know braces are expensive, and besides, shouldn’t you wait until all of your child’s adult teeth are in before you start straightening them with braces?

At Millennium Park Orthodontics in Chicago, Howard Spector, DDS, and our expert team have been answering questions like these for many years. Here’s our best advice to parents.

When should my child see an orthodontist?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children should have an orthodontic screening by age 7 (or earlier if you notice an orthodontic problem). By this age, most kids have all of their first molars and their first set of permanent incisors. So your orthodontist should be able to evaluate the relationship of your child’s teeth to each other.

Should treatment start right away?

In most cases, kids age 7 and younger will not benefit much from early orthodontic treatment. If your child has crowding or spacing issues or a mild overbite, the best strategy is usually to wait for a while and have them reevaluated once a year. 

If it appears that your child may have a serious orthodontic issue — such as a severe overbite, underbite, or crossbite — we may recommend a Phase 1 treatment. A Phase 1 treatment may involve partial braces or another type of appliance. The purpose of a Phase 1 treatment is to prepare their mouth for when they're ready to have full braces.

How do I know what to do?

Because every child is unique, age shouldn’t be the determining factor. The question should be, when are their teeth ready for treatment? 

To avoid a one-size-fits-all approach, here’s a proven plan: Take your child to the orthodontist for a screening by age 7. This early consultation will give you an idea of what issues your child may face in the future and whether or not they may need early treatment. 

If there are no current issues, continue seeing the orthodontist on a yearly basis. If your child needs orthodontic treatment, your provider will tell you when it’s time. This approach will make sure your child gets the right treatment at the right time.

To see if your child may need braces, and to know when they might need them, book an appointment over the phone with Millennium Park Orthodontics today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

A Closer Look at the Braces Timeline

Are you wondering how long you’ll have to wear braces? We take a closer look at the timeline for braces, from the initial consultation to when the braces are removed!

Tips for Adults With Braces

If you’re an adult considering braces, you may wonder about how the process works, what will be required of you, and how you can adjust. Read on to learn how you can wear braces with ease.

My Child Has a Crossbite. Now What?

If your child has been diagnosed with a crossbite, you need to get it treated as soon as possible. Read on to learn what a crossbite is, what can cause it, and how it can be treated.

When Should You Consider Invisalign?

If you’re ready for a fast, inconspicuous method of straightening your teeth, Invisalign® might be the perfect solution for you. Read on to find out more.

3 Types of Clear Braces

If you have to get braces but are worried about your appearance, clear braces can give you the results you want without having to show the world you're getting dental work done. Here’s a look at three options.