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Children and Braces: How Young is Too Young?

Children and Braces: How Young is Too Young?
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Orthodontic treatment with braces is the go-to treatment of choice if you have misaligned teeth. If you have crooked, crowded and rotated teeth, you can straighten them out with braces. If you have a severe overbite or overjet, and your teeth are crossed, you can fix everything with braces. The treatment involves the use of wires, brackets, and rubbers to move the teeth in place. It requires the pulling, pushing and twisting of teeth which result in bone breaking; and stabilization to allow the bone to build, sufficiently.

Children and Braces

Between a child and an adult, the best patients are children because the bone is not as dense. The bone is still developing so it could be subjected to forces and it won’t be as resisting as an entirely mature bone. An adult patient will more or less have the same experience with braces, but treatments tend to be longer. When the bone is too strong and thick, the bone breaking and building process cannot go as fast as you would want to.

In other words, it is best to have your braces when you are younger, which is why you will see a lot of children with metal mouths in school. But how young is young when it comes to braces?

Dental Appliance Before Braces

Some dentists would install braces on patients as young as nine years old. That would mean that the child is well in the middle of the mixed dentition stage so that he will have a mixture of baby teeth and permanent teeth in his mouth. That also means that the treatment will course a good few years because the dentist needs to wait for the baby teeth to exfoliate and the permanent teeth to come out completely. To avoid this, some dentists would wait for the premolars to come out. That should be around 12-14 years old, depending on the dental age of the individual. By waiting for the premolars, you can install the braces on all teeth, and the treatment can proceed as it should. But what if you want to prevent a bigger problem?

When the orthodontic issue is already evident and pronounced but the child is deemed too young to proceed to braces, right away, he can be fitted with an appliance. A dental device may be removable or fixed, and either corrects minor issues or functions as a precursor for the braces. A two-phase treatment is ideal for children. Instead of installing the braces at a young age and having them endure it for such a long time, you can divide the treatment into two phases which involve the appliance phase and the braces phase.