FAQ: Does My Child Need Braces?
We hear this question daily too! Sometimes, parents ask if their two year old will need braces… and often it is too early to tell. Typically we can spot major problems early (severe crowding, jaw growth problems) around age 4-5. Once the permanent teeth start to erupt, we can see problems more easily. The permanent teeth are almost twice the size of the baby teeth, so if you see no spacing between the baby teeth, you will most likely have problems with too little space, and your child will need braces. The jaw growth in children all happens in the back of the jaw after their baby teeth erupt, so if there is a tooth out of alignment, or one that is “blocked out” and looks like it doesn’t have enough room to fit into line with the other teeth, then your child will likely need to have braces.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends to get an orthodontic check no later than 7 years of age. Most children don’t need braces until most of their permanent teeth are erupted, around age 12 or 13, but there are some problems like cross bite, jaw growth problems, or severe crowding so that teeth cannot erupt that need to be treated earlier. We will check your child’s orthodontic needs, dental growth and facial development at each check up visit and give you a referral to an orthodontist if your child would benefit from an early check up. The good news is that most first orthodontic visits are at no cost, and your child can have an evaluation with a couple of different orthodontists to make sure you are comfortable with the treatment and with the financial arrangements. The bad news is that (as you know) braces can be really expensive! Thankfully, almost all orthodontists offer payment plans to work with your budget. It’s not a bad idea to start saving early though, especially if you know that your child has some orthodontic problems – like cross bite, they had a thumb sucking habit, or they have severe crowding.
Like always, if you have any concerns about your child’s dental growth or facial development, please call our office at 205-419-7444, or ask us during your dental health visit!