Braces can help with smiling, speech, and enjoying food.
Have you heard how the average kindergarten kid laughs up to 300 times a day? That’s according to William Fry, a retired Stanford University psychiatry professor.
Even if that turns out to be more of an urban legend, there’s no doubt that children do smile and laugh more than adults. A study even found that, on average, kids smiled three times as much if they’re with others as they do on their own.
On that note, we can help our kids smile more if we let them get braces early on. Orthodontic treatment, after all, allows for healthier, more enchanting smiles.
Getting braces at an early age can help prepare our little ones for the growth of their permanent teeth. The big question now is, how early is early orthodontic treatment?
Today we’ll discuss when our kids should get braces and how early treatment can benefit them.
What are dental braces?
Dental braces, or orthodontic treatments, guide the development of the teeth and jaw. They help create a functional bite by ensuring the correct alignment of the teeth and jaw. They move the teeth gradually to proper locations so that they don’t overlap or grow crooked.
Properly aligned teeth and jaws work as nature intended, so they are less prone to problems. Since they function as they should, they also promote better oral health.
Now, remember that the health of the mouth impacts overall health. As such, the positive results that braces bring also boost our kids’ entire well-being.
What is the ideal age range to get braces?
Patients (including adults) can get braces at almost any age. However, the ideal time for dental braces treatment is between the ages of 8 and 14. This is the time when kids have lost most of their baby teeth, and many of their permanent teeth have come through.
It’s during this period that the teeth and bones in the mouth are the most malleable. The gums and the developing bones are also softer and more responsive to external forces. As such, the components of the mouth are easier to manipulate at this age range.
Braces worn during this age range require less time to expand the jaw. As a result, they create more room for the proper eruption and growth of the adult or permanent teeth. This then makes it easier and quicker to move the teeth into more desirable locations.
When should kids see an orthodontist for the first time?
The age range mentioned above is the ideal time for the orthodontic treatment itself. However, it’s best for kids to see an orthodontist for the first time when they turn 7 years old. This way, a kid’s orthodontist can detect subtle issues with emerging teeth and jaw growth.
Why are early orthodontic checkups important?
Many problems with the teeth and the jaw can start early in childhood. These can develop while some of the baby or primary teeth are still present.
For instance, front teeth that jut too far forward can indicate jaw development issues. It’s also possible for children to have a smaller-than-normal jawbone. In either case, such problems can impede the proper growth and development of the adult teeth.
Early orthodontic evaluations give orthodontists the chance to spot these issues right away. Or, they can determine that your little one has some of the healthiest, loveliest teeth. This, in turn, can help you feel more at ease, knowing that your child has excellent oral health.
In case the dentist identifies an issue, they can determine the best time or age for the treatment. They may recommend monitoring your child’s growth first. They can then schedule the treatment at the most appropriate time for your little one.
At the same time, the orthodontist may find a problem that early orthodontics can correct. Interceptive treatment, in this case, can take advantage of your kid’s still-developing mouth. This, in turn, enables the orthodontic treatment to provide the best possible results.
How does getting braces early help your child?
Early orthodontic treatments give kids’ orthodontists time to guide jaw growth. Proper jaw development, in turn, is essential for a healthy, functional bite. Having a correct bite then helps the permanent teeth grow in straight and strong.
Interceptive treatment can also help lower the risk of trauma to teeth that protrude. Do note that dental trauma is quite common in children and adolescents. About one-third of children (including toddlers) sustain dental trauma at any given time.
Getting braces put on earlier can also help keep more serious teeth and jaw alignment issues at bay. For example, an orthodontist can catch early signs of teeth overcrowding. Early treatment can then give the dentist ways to create more room for permanent teeth to erupt.
Early orthodontic treatments can also correct overbites, underbites, crossbites, and open bites. They straighten crooked teeth and may even help prevent problems like TMJ disorders. TMJ disorders are conditions of the jaw that affect up to 10 million patients in the US.
Since the teeth, gums, and bones are still malleable, the treatment can get done faster. This then protects your little one from more invasive treatments in the future.
There’s also the bonus of orthodontic treatment having a positive effect on appearance. Straight teeth create lovelier smiles. Moreover, properly aligned teeth are easier to clean, so they are less prone to tooth decay.
All in all, an early orthodontic checkup lets you give your child more opportunities to smile. Interceptive treatment takes advantage of these opportunities. Together, they can help kids achieve optimal oral health in the long run.
Protect your child’s infectious and endearing smiles.
As you can see, orthodontic treatments are not just for vanity. By helping your child get braces early on, you can help protect their adult teeth. Interceptive treatment is an investment that can benefit your child for life.
Is your child showing signs of teeth and jaw misalignment? If so, then please know that our pediatric dental team here at Must Love Kids is ready to assist. Call us or schedule an appointment so we can see what we can do to safeguard your little one’s adorable smile.