You look at your child one day and notice that her pearly whites are, well, a little crooked. How early should a child get braces? The sooner, the better, advises Jonathan S. Petrover, D.D.S. “Kids are getting orthodontic treatment at a younger age than they were a generation ago. This is because of the advent of the concept of splitting some patients orthodontic treatment in to two–Phase I and Phase II treatment,” says Dr. Petrover.
You should get your child to the orthodontist early if you notice that she’s suffering from extreme crowding, extreme over-bite, and most cross-bites. In fact, The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that patients should see an orthodontist at the age of 7 to evaluate them for early treatment. But that doesn’t mean your kid will start treatment at that age. The majority of patients should be treated when all or almost all of their baby teeth fall out. This happens around the age of 12 but can happen earlier or later.
Treatment can vary depending on the age and needs of your child. For example, Phase I can last 12-18 months while full treatment can last 12-24 months.
If you’re not sure when to take your child to see the orthodontist, you’re not alone. Dr. Petrover says that parents should follow the American Dental Association’s advice to have biannual dental check-ups and let your dentist guide your decision.