When should my kids really get braces?
by Dr. Hami Eghdamian
When should kids get braces?
It's a confusing question for parents, as there are two predominant schools of thought: really early on, or in their mid-teens. In this article I hope to demystify the topic; give you some straight easy answers; risks and benefits to each camp of thinking; and tips on how to make the right decision.
So you may have seen some kids with removal orthodontic plates at your kids sleepover parties anyway from age 6 years and above, and thought to yourself, do my kids need those? Well really this early intervention orthodontics is for fixing three common problems:
1. Either your child's upper and lower jaw bones aren't growing in harmony with the other and we want to either stimulate or impede the growth of one or the other jaw bones to make the bite and aesthetics better.
2. They have one or a couple of teeth a bit out of place and these can be 'tipped' in the right direction.
3. They lost some baby teeth and we need something to keep those gaps in their mouths open so that the adult teeth can come through in the correct position.
An example of a removal orthodontic plate, used in early-approach orthodontics.
So if your child has either of those issues, by all means book them in for an orthodontic assessment as soon as possible. But be aware of one really important factor: kids get tired of having years of orthodontics in their mouths! So compliance is a huge factor to consider.
So say that an orthodontist proposes to you that we do some early intervention orthodontics now, but that in their mid-teens they're going to need orthodontics AGAIN, and you have to ask yourself: will my child want to, or be able to put up with upto 4 years of orthodontics?
For many kids and parents, that's a clear 'no'. Not to mention the increased risk during these years of tooth decay and gum problems, as it's more difficult to clean their teeth, and there are more nooks and crannies for food and bacteria to nest in and create problems.
Now by no means am I not advocating for this approach, as there's definitely a place for it, but you have to understand the potential trade-offs and decide in consultation with your local orthodontist.
Don't forget also that there is a psychological and self-esteem aspect to straight teeth that you should take into consideration before making the decision. Unfortunately in today's world bullies exist in schools, and some kids can get taunted for a tooth poking out, and they don't want to wait until their mid-teens to sort out their smile. So please consider this social element to their reality before making your decision.
This all said, the other school of thought is to wait until your child is around 13-14 years old, when their second molars have erupted into their mouths and then opt for fixed braces, and generally with this approach it's a one-off thing, and typically between 18-24 months you're done. So long as your child every night wears their retainer, or they get a metal wire permanently placed behind their teeth, they'll probably never need orthodontics again.
Fixed braces, typically used from around age 13-14 years old and upwards
I know this article is rather information-heavy, and I may have raised more questions than I've answered, so if you'd like to have a free orthodontic consultation
with me, I'd be happy to answer your questions, and together we can customise all these concepts into perfect approach for your little ones.
Dr. Hami Eghdamian
Bachelor of Dental Surgery (with Honours)
University of Otago, New ZealandDr. Eghdamian
trained as a dentist in the 8th best dental school of the world - Otago University in 2004. After a year working as a maxillofacial house surgeon in New Zealand, he then entered into private dental practice in Perth and Sydney, Australia, before finally moving to Marbella five years ago.
Him and his wife, Rebeca
, who is a gum and implant specialist, run the renowned R&H Clínica Dental on the main street of Marbella: www.rhclinicadental.com
Dr. Eghdamian is happy to answer any questions via email and can be reached at email@example.com