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young girl with braces

When should I take my child to an orthodontist?

When should I take my child to an orthodontist? 360 222 Turner Lim Orthodontists, New Lynn, Auckland

Braces are more commonly worn by teenagers. However, increasingly more adults now choose to wear braces to straighten their teeth and correct their bites. Thankfully, braces are smaller and more technically advanced than they used to be — and some people even enjoy their bit of bling!

In this post we explain when to take your child to an orthodontist. If you find this useful, please share. Your questions or comments are welcome.

As a parent, you might have heard of other children getting full orthodontic treatment in their preteens; maybe you want the same for your child. You may feel that early treatment could reduce the need for treatment (and having wonky teeth) later on.

Avoiding the guess work

There is a good reason why major orthodontic treatment is usually applied to patients in their teenage or latter years. You see, by then, a patient’s bite has fully developed — all their adult teeth have come through.

As orthodontists, we prefer not to guess what a child’s teeth will do — treating a child too early relies on chance. For example, after having braces fitted at younger than ten, a child’s 12-year-old molar might grow incorrectly and result in more treatment (and additional expense) later on.

Treating preteens

At Turner Lim Orthodontists, we do like to see children at around the age of eight to nine. Though, as already mentioned, treatment is unlikely. Any orthodontic treatment we do carry out will likely be less involved, like fitting a removable plate or limited fixed braces.

One benefit of seeing a child at around nine is it enables us to spot problems early, like:

  • a tooth being prevented from growing
  • a tooth stuck across the bite, known as a cross bite
  • crowded or missing teeth.

Skeletal mismatches between the jaws can also be identified, and we can sometimes correct them early orthopaedically, rather than later on. This can be the case for someone with a very small lower jaw, which gives them a big overbite (overjet/buck teeth). This sort of bite can be linked to teasing and a higher risk of the teeth being knocked. In contrast, someone with a very big lower jaw may have to wait until their face has completely stopped growing.

What do your think? If you found this post useful, please share. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comments section.