A lot of children need braces to straighten their teeth, but sometimes children get braces too early so they end up wearing the braces much longer than necessary. You don’t want to prolong the treatment if it isn’t necessary, specially since your child will begin to dread going to the dentist, and this feeling can continue well into their adult life as well.
Dentists and orthodontists sometimes disagree on when braces should be put delivered as well as taken off. Typical treatment, which involves wearing braces, ranges from 12 to 30 months. The reasons for extending the treatment plan beyond 30 months is often related to putting braces on the child too early.
Experts say that the most common reasons for extending the treatment plan are:
- Braces are put on the child before all of the baby teeth have been lost and before the 12-year molars have erupted.
- Patients failing to have extractions as needed or necessary surgical procedures performed in a timely matter after the orthodontic treatment plan has begun.
- There are mid-course deviations from the current treatment plan.
Before braces are delivered, the child needs to have already shed all his or her baby teeth and the 12-year molars need to have erupted. This puts the plan in motion for the braces to adequately do their job and get the teeth straightened and create a perfect smile.
What would normally be a simple one-year treatment plan can drag on for as long as two years if the braces are put on teeth that still have several baby teeth left to shed or if the 12-year molars have not yet erupted. Teeth cannot be moved or bracketed unless they have erupted, so it is necessary to wait until this has occurred.
After all, it does not make any sense to place braces on a child when all their molars have not erupted, because once they come in it will change the treatment plant. So should your child endure a longer orthodontic treatment when it could be avoided?! It truly surprises me when I see young children with braces. It just doesn’t seem nice nor fair to the child.
The majority of patients should not be fitted with braces until the 12-year molars have erupted and all baby teeth have been shed. There are a few exceptions, such as those who have severe malocclusion, which will take more than two years to fix. Examples would be excessive overbites, severe teeth crowding or impacted canines.
Every patient is different, and the recommendations can vary based on the patient’s individual situation. But for the most part, children should not be fitted for braces until they are at least 12 years old, and for the most part, in their early teens.
When you are concerned about a recommendation regarding braces, don’t be hesitant to get a second opinion. You don’t want your child to spend more time wearing braces than necessary. So, if you have a child 8 to 10 years old who has crowded teeth, take them to your dentist to get an orthodontic consultation, but be wary and do get a second opinion if the doctor recommends braces.