If your school-aged child has crooked teeth or a misaligned jaw, you might be wondering if braces are in their future. Well, Kids Mile High to the rescue! We at Kids Mile High are all about top-notch care wrapped in education and fun, so we’re happy to answer any questions you might have about braces for your kids. Questions like, “When do kids get braces?” Or, “What age can kids get braces?”
Here, we’ll tackle those, plus a few other popular ones our patients ask about kids braces.
When Do Kids Get Braces?
Let’s start with the most-often-asked question: “When do kids get braces?” The truth is, there isn’t one age or time that’s set in stone. The best age for braces depends on each child’s unique orthodontic issues, but in general, is around ages 11-13. In these early teen years, a child finally has all their adult teeth, yet their head, mouth, and jaw are still growing, which makes tooth movements with braces easier than in adulthood.
Why Do Kids Need Braces?
Braces for kids fix a number of orthodontic issues, from crooked teeth to gaps to a misaligned jaw. The ultimate goal of braces is to improve your child’s quality of life: create a functional, healthy bite so your kids can talk and eat with ease, make it easier for them to maintain clean, cavity-free teeth, and establish a beautiful smile that can help with their self-confidence — now and throughout adulthood. In fact, one survey showed that those with attractive, straight smiles fare better socially and in the workplace.
So what are the orthodontic issues that mean your kid might need braces? Our Kids Mile High orthodontist, Dr. Brandon Scheer, might find that braces are likely if he sees signs like:
- Crowded, misplaced, or protruding teeth
- Gaps in teeth
- An open bite, underbite, or overbite
- Jaws that make sounds or shift when your child opens and closes their mouth
- Difficulty speaking
- Cheek biting or biting into the roof of the mouth
- Facial imbalance or asymmetry
- Teeth grinding or clenching
- Trouble chewing or biting
- Mouth breathing
- Thumb or finger sucking well past toddlerhood
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- Tongue thrust past infanthood
It’s worth mentioning that as baby teeth fall out and adult teeth come in, those permanent teeth don’t always grow straight or exactly in the right spots. But they might align or move into their correct spots as your child’s mouth grows. We find it’s best not to assume that your little one will need braces based only on how their adult teeth come in at first.
If you do notice that your kiddo’s teeth remain crooked or out of position after they’ve fully erupted — or your child shows signs as mentioned above — an orthodontic visit will provide you with an evaluation from an orthodontic professional like Dr. Scheer.
Of course, some kids don’t need braces, while others might need kids’ braces earlier. Just like your child’s dental health, your kiddo’s genetics, oral care, and nutrition play a part in whether they will need braces.
When Do Kids Go for Their First Orthodontic Visit?
As parents, being prepared is half the battle. So knowing what might lay ahead in your child’s oral development is definitely helpful. That’s why the American Association of Orthodontics recommends that your child’s first orthodontic visit happens by age seven. It might seem early, but seven years old is a great time for an orthodontist like Dr. Scheer to examine your child’s teeth — by that age, your child has some of their adult teeth already, and their jaw shape is basically set. Your Denver-area orthodontist can get a good idea of how your kiddo’s bite is developing and whether braces are likely in their future.
Now, we want to assure you that your second-grader won’t walk out of their first orthodontic appointment with braces on! If issues are mild, Dr. Scheer typically recommends holding off on braces until your child has all their adult teeth. Until then, we keep an eye on your child’s oral development through regular appointments. We’ll let you know when it’s the best age for comprehensive braces, when your child’s oral development is ready.
When is Early Orthodontic Treatment Recommended?
On the other hand, if Dr. Scheer sees serious orthodontic issues at your child’s first orthodontic visit, he might suggest fixing them sooner than later with early orthodontic treatment. This is orthodontic treatment that happens before all the adult teeth are present and is all about prevention — correcting complex issues before they worsen. And early orthodontic treatment is known to lessen the likelihood of your child needing extensive braces treatment, tooth extractions, or surgeries later on.
Early orthodontic treatment has two phases. Phase 1 does a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to aligning jaws or opening up the arch to make room for adult teeth. Once Dr. Scheer has assessed the issues, he might recommend appliances like Phase 1 braces, orthodontic expanders, or space maintainers. Phase 1 braces typically include brackets only on the teeth that need fixing, not full braces like for older kids. And treatment time is quite short, only 9-12 months!
How Much are Braces for Kids?
Now that you’re more in the know about braces for children, how about that all-important info: the cost of braces for kids. Typically, braces aren’t one-price-fits-all and every braces treatment is as unique as your child. So what is the cost of braces based on? As your experienced kids’ orthodontist in Thornton, Central Park, and Englewood, we can confidently say that the cost of braces for kids depends on five main factors:
- Severity of your child’s orthodontic issues
- Length of wear needed to achieve beautiful, happy teeth
- Type of braces you choose (we offer metal and ceramic braces)
- Your insurance coverage and/or FSA/TSA contribution
- Where you live
Fun and Friendly Kids Orthodontics in Denver
As your full-service pediatric dentistry and orthodontics provider in the Denver area, we’re here to take care of all your child’s smile needs. Now that you’ve got an introduction to when kids might need braces, bring your little one to Kids Mile High for a first orthodontic visit. Dr. Scheer and the team help kids get healthy, functional, smiles they can be proud of.
Contact us today to make an orthodontic appointment at one of our fun, kid-friendly Denver-area offices in Thornton, Central Park, or Englewood.