When is the Right Time for My Child to Get Braces?

Parents typically have many questions and concerns regarding getting braces for their children. One common question is, What age can a child get braces? Even if a parent had braces themselves, they relied on help from their own parents and likely do not remember much about the process. In the post below, we discuss when children should get braces and address common questions from parents.

Deciding when children should get braces

The short answer is that there is no right age for children to get braces. The truth is that every child is different, and assigning a particular age to orthodontic needs is impossible.

However, a good rule of thumb is that all children should at least visit an orthodontist at age seven. When a child has their first orthodontic appointment at age seven, this early attention allows parents, orthodontists, and the patient to get a head start with planning. While most children are not ready for treatment at age 7, Dr. Pratt will review the eruption of the teeth with a panoramic x-ray and look to detect any teeth that may become impacted (unreputable) through periodic monitoring of tooth development.

When is early treatment necessary (age 6-8 years)?

When a child has and underbite (anterior crossbite), posterior crossbite, openbite, or a thumb or finger habit, early treatment is often recommended with various appliances or sectional braces.  This is an important step in the growth and development of the jaws and may be necessary to avoid future jaw asymmetries, permanent tooth extractions and/or jaw surgery.  Dr. Pratt completed her post-doctorate education in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics and will be able to guide your family in the proper early interventional treatment, when indicated.

What orthodontic issues can braces treat?

At a child’s first orthodontic appointment, the doctor can identify any orthodontic problems early and ensure that all parties know what to expect. Common orthodontic issues that braces can help children with include:

  • Overcrowding
  • Uneven bite
  • Crooked teeth
  • Crossbites
  • Overbite
  • Underbite
  • Protruding teeth

In addition to the child exhibiting the above orthodontic problems, other signs that a child may need braces include:

  • Facial asymmetry
  • Thumb or finger sucking
  • Speaking difficulties
  • Early or delayed loss of baby teeth

Additionally, young children with cleft palates, underbites and/or crossbites may require braces earlier than other children. In these cases, braces may be appropriate before the child has all of their adult teeth.

What type of braces can children get?

The most common type of braces for children are traditional braces with brackets, wires, and rubber bands. One reason that traditional braces are the most common type of braces for children is that they can treat a wide range of orthodontic issues. For example, clear aligner braces, such as Invisalign, cannot treat many crossbite problems adequately. Additionally, young patients are often more compliant with traditional braces. For clear aligners to be effective, patients must wear them for around 22 hours a day, and this requirement is often difficult for kids to meet.

However, children can get Invisalign and other clear aligner braces, and we have provided many successful orthodontic treatments with clear aligners. These cases require special consultation with the orthodontist, child, and parents. Additionally, clear aligners for children are typically only appropriate for children in their teenage years.

Will dental insurance cover braces for my child?

The answer to this question depends on the child’s insurance plan. A member of our team can review your child’s insurance plan and help you navigate your child’s insurance benefits.

Getting started with braces at Dr. Kendra Pratt’s orthodontic office

Dr. Kendra Pratt is a board-certified orthodontist, and Dr. Pratt has been serving patients in the greater Houston area for years. Our team strives to make patients and their families feel comfortable at every step of the treatment process.

Taking the first step towards getting braces for your child is easy. To get started, contact our team at Dr. Kendra Pratt’s orthodontic practice. A member of our team can help answer any questions you may have about orthodontic treatment for your child and help book a complimentary consultation appointment.

We provide orthodontic services to kids and adults at our two private practice locations. To contact our family practice in The Woodlands, Texas, call us at (281) 367-0050. To contact our practice in Montgomery, Texas, contact us at (936) 596-1200.

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