Many parents only think about getting braces for their children when it becomes obvious that their teeth are crooked. However, waiting until these signs are visible (usually around the ages of 9-12), means that you miss out on a number of not-so-obvious problems that may also require braces.
Generally, kids orthodontists recommend taking your child for an orthodontic evaluation when they are around 6 or 7 years old, even before all their teeth mature. At this age, problems like teeth crowding, missing teeth, misalignments, spaces, and weak bites are easily identifiable and corrected, whether through braces or other oral devices. Further, these early evaluations help the dentist to determine other treatments that your child requires to manage other common problems like teeth and gum pain, abnormal wear of the teeth, issues with chewing, and speech problems.
When to Get Your Child on Braces
Unlike ordinary dental problems, which can be addressed at any age, problems that require braces, like misalignments and overcrowding, are better fixed when the child’s mouth and gum are still developing – normally around 11-14 years. Beyond the age factor, the child’s oral care routine also has considerable weight on their long-term oral health.
Fortunately, maintaining a healthy oral care routine is nothing complicated. The child only needs to brush twice a day, use mouthwash a couple of times a week, and floss at least once every two days. The dentist may also avoid certain foods that can damage the braces. This is arguably the only hard part of the whole thing as it takes quite some time to get children off their favorite foods. Most importantly, the child needs to be able to communicate about any discomfort or pain they experience so you can take timely measures.
How Long Does Orthodontic Treatment Last?
The amount of time your child will have to be on orthodontic treatment depends on how severe their misalignment is and of course their age. Also note that the orthodontist may tweak the timeline depending on how receptive the child’s teeth are to the treatment, and how much they take care of the braces.
But to answer the question, 12 months is the least amount of time one needs to wear braces to treat most types of misalignment. However, it is quite normal for older children (above 15 years), and those with more advanced conditions, to wear braces for 18-30 months, so don’t panic if that’s the case with your child.