little girl with braces

Once thought of as a purely cosmetic luxury, braces are now seen as a necessity in many cases. In order for healthy adult teeth to stay healthy, a proper bite and alignment is necessary. For children who aren’t blessed with naturally straight teeth, orthodontics can save them from years of dental issues and a poor self-image that is often associated with having a less-than-stellar smile. While many parents are now aware of the importance of orthodontic work, the question of when work should begin often comes up.

When Should Orthodontic Work Begin?

There is no cut-and-dry answer to this question. When and how orthodontia should be implemented is unique to each individual case, but many doctors believe children should be evaluated by an orthodontist by the time they are seven years old. An early evaluation can spot significant problems, and help you and your doctor better understand how your child’s adult teeth will come in. In very rare cases, braces may be implemented at this time, although most children don’t need braces placed until much later than seven years of age.

When Should My Child Get Braces?

Most doctors agree that orthodontia should be placed on a child who has lost most or all of their baby teeth. The age at which this happens can vary from child to child, ranging from age 8 up to age 14. A child who hasn’t lost all of their baby teeth by the time they are 14-years-old should be seen by a dental professional, as this could signal a problem that needs attention.

Today, orthodontists may use one of two approaches when it comes to orthodontia – the traditional approach and the interceptive approach. The traditional approach, which is started once all the baby teeth have fallen out and most of the permanent teeth have moved into place, generally begins later in your child’s life.

What is the Traditional Approach to Braces?

The traditional approach to orthodontia generally begins once your child has lost all of his or her baby teeth. This generally happens between ages 10 and 14, depending on the child. Orthodontic appliances are set in the mouth once most of the permanent teeth are in place, and this generally results in one, long course of treatment. Braces may be worn from six months up to four years, depending on the severity of work that needs to be completed, and this may or may not include the use of dental appliances.

What is the Interceptive Approach to Braces?

The interceptive approach to orthodontia is a fairly new style of orthodontia. With this method, a child who has not lost all of his or her baby teeth is fitted with a dental appliance to correct bite issues or jaw issues. The appliance is worn for a length of time and then removed, before a second phase of treatment is started after a hiatus. During the second phase of treatment, braces are fitted to correct crooked teeth. Appliances may be fitted on children as young as eight years of age. It is believed that the interceptive approach may shorten the length of time in which actual braces must be worn.

Tribeca Dental Care

Orthodontia can correct many dental issues, and help your child ensure his or her dental health for a lifetime to come. Once thought of as merely cosmetic, orthodontia is now recognized as a necessary and important part of a child’s overall health. If you are concerned about your child’s dental health or have a need for orthodontia, call the professionals at Tribeca Dental Care today. We will be happy to help you assess your child’s dental and orthodontic needs. 


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Smiling boy waiting for a dental exam