Girl with Glasses & BracesSince modern braces emerged in the 1970s, braces have become almost a rite of passage into adulthood. And for good reason. Bones stop growing by age 20 for girls and between ages 18 to 21 for boys. When bones are still growing, teeth can be shifted more easily. Treatment takes less time–and costs less. Ideally, you should take your child to your Redding orthodontist before bones are set in place.

First Visit

Orthodontists recommend that children get an orthodontic evaluation as early as seven years old. At seven, the permanent teeth are starting to show up and the orthodontist will be able to see what kind of treatment your child might need. You don’t have to start your child with braces at this age though. An early visit will help you get started with mapping out a plan for treatment, getting approval from your insurance (yes, this can be a process), and developing a financial plan.

Beginning Treatment

Children usually have all their permanent teeth around age 12, which is why this is considered an optimal age for beginning treatment. If braces are applied while your child still has baby teeth or before her wisdom teeth erupt, the treatment time will likely take much longer. The best time to begin treatment, however, depends on your child. Every child is different.

Length of Treatment

The average amount of time required for braces is 24 months, but treatment can range anywhere from 12 to 30 months. Keep in mind, though, that if your child has severe malocclusion (bite problems), it can take longer. Treatment time also depends on how well your child sticks to the treatment plan!

Unusual Cases

In the case of moderate to severe bite problems, an orthodontist may recommend Phase One (early interceptive) treatment. This generally involves the use of a removable dental appliance, braces on four to six permanent teeth, and possibly an expander (for significant crowding or a crossbite). Phase One treatment is designed to correct jaw problems in young children in the hopes of preventing surgery later on and, in rare cases, eliminating the need for Phase-Two ( regular) braces.

Nearly 75 percent of children have misaligned teeth. When you get your child started on treatment at the right age, he or she will be able to enter into adulthood with a beautiful row of straight teeth. That’s a valuable investment in your child’s future. Visit your Redding orthodontist at Schalo Smiles to talk about your options!