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June 23, 2015
Are Kids Getting Braces At A Younger & Younger Age?
Our Seattle orthodontist, Dr. Jorge Peralta, is often asked by people he meets why it seems like kids are getting braces at a younger and younger age. Although it may seem like a more recent trend, we wanted to write a blog to let everyone know whether this is really happening or not.
While it may seem that kids are starting orthodontic treatment at a much younger age today, it’s not necessarily true. Most orthodontic treatment starts when all of the permanent teeth have erupted. This is typically between the ages of 9 and 14. Some children start much earlier, around the age of 7, due to their own individual needs as their mouth develops. The timing all depends on the patient and what his or her specific problems and needs are.
The best time for your child to begin orthodontic treatment is dependent upon the severity of his or her dental problems. This is why the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that all children receive their first orthodontic evaluation no later than the age of 7. The ultimate goal is to create the best result possible without the need for potential tooth extractions by using the patient’s own growth to help balance the bite and jaws. In some cases, beginning treatment at a younger age can maximize the result because you do not have to make compromises for growth or crowding in the future.
While it may seem very young for a child of 7 to see an orthodontist, by this age the first permanent molars have erupted, allowing an orthodontist to evaluate the front-to-back and side-to-side tooth relationships. Even if Dr. Peralta decides that your young child could benefit from orthodontic treatment, he or she may not need to start wearing braces right away. If treatment is not needed at an early age, we will monitor your child’s development so that treatment can begin when it’s most appropriate.
Some kids start and finish orthodontic treatment long before they’re adolescents; but again, it all depends on the treatment a child requires. Some children who start early with interceptive treatment end up undergoing a second phase of treatment wherein they wear braces into their early teen years. The first phase of treatment these kids go through often consists of them wearing special appliances that solve potential orthodontic issues they may encounter in their teen years.
If you have any questions about early orthodontic treatment please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re always happy to speak with you! If you’d like to set up your child’s first appointment with our Seattle orthodontist, please complete and submit the ‘Request an Appointment’ form here on our website.