For many adolescents, braces are just another part of being a teenager. Although there are many different reasons as to why each individual needs braces, the average age for braces is usually in adolescence. As the premier orthodontist in Squamish, here are some of the reasons as to why this time period is chosen and some reasons why we may look at earlier intervention.
As a child enters adolescence, most, if not all, of their baby teeth or primary teeth have been replaced by their adult teeth. Before applying braces, it is preferred that this process has fully taken place. If there are still primary teeth, one option is to remove them, the other is to start with braces and work around the last few remaining primary teeth. If crowding is a real concern, the latter is usually the better option.
A teenage Rite of Passage
Another reason why adolescence is the perfect time to get braces is that your braces will need to be worn for at least 12 months and probably closer to 24 months or beyond, and being surrounded with many other teenagers wearing them will be a conversation starter or a bonding resource. It is universally recommended by orthodontists that it is better to get it done earlier than later, so many of your friends will be in the same boat as you.
Monthly visits are recommended and this is a perfect time in your life to be able to have an open schedule for the much needed check-ins. Again, the overall goal is to have your braces removed before you finish high school, leaving you with a perfectly straight smile for those graduation photos!
There are definitely times when waiting until adolescence is not an option. Usually by the age of 7, most dentists can determine if your child will be a candidate for braces and if a consult with an orthodontist is required. A quick initial visit to your orthodontist will tell you if your child can wait a few more years until adolescence or if the problems are so severe that perhaps early intervention is a better strategy.
An early intervention is usually reserved only for the most severe dental problems. Some examples of why early intervention may be required are jaw misalignment, crooked teeth or a cross bite. Remember, only an orthodontist can determine the best route for your child so do not delay this process.
For more information about when the proper time to fit your son or daughter with braces is, or for more information or general questions about the overall process of braces, please stop by my office today or give us a call. I look forward to seeing you soon!