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Pediatric orthodontics: When is the right time for braces for kids?

Often times parents wait until all of the baby teeth are gone to bring their child in for an orthodontic consultation, but orthodontists prefer to see the child much earlier. The timing for braces for kids has evolved and it is not uncommon to see children in elementary and early middle school getting started with orthodontic treatment.

So, exactly when should kids get braces? The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children have their initial orthodontic consultation at age 7. By having an early orthodontic consultation, our doctors can determine if there are any problems that need to be intercepted right away, or if braces are still some time away.

What do we look for at an early consultation?

To explore braces for children, there are several issues that our orthodontists will look for during an early consultation. They include:

  • Missing teeth
  • Extra teeth
  • Spacing or crowding issues
  • Constricted airway
  • Teeth that are developing abnormally or coming in the wrong position
  • Underbites, crossbites and jaw deviations that may impact how the jaws grow
  • Any impact on teeth from habits such as thumb-sucking or a pacifier

What type of treatment is done early?

Early orthodontic treatment, or phase one orthodontics, can be done to address a problem that will become more difficult to correct later on. Treatment is usually done if there are problems such as a crossbite, narrow upper jaw, constricted airway or teeth that stick out making them susceptible to trauma.

Often times the early treatment does not necessarily translate to needing braces for children. Treatment can involve other appliances such as a palatal expander, space maintainer or different types of retainers. Removing baby teeth early can also be a course of treatment for some patients if there are concerns about how the permanent or adult teeth are going to erupt.

What if my child isn’t ready for treatment?

If no treatment is needed early on, your child will be placed on our recall program to be checked periodically to monitor their progress. There are no charges associated with our recall program and by staying on top of these visits our doctors can start your child’s treatment at the right time in their growth and tooth development.

Time for braces

If you think it’s time for braces for your child, call us for a complimentary consultation. We’ll help you understand everything you need to know about getting braces for kids.

Call us at 920-739-2400 to schedule an appointment. We proudly serve the Appleton area, including Neenah, Menasha, Little Chute, Grand Chute and Kaukauna.