Here's Why Your Child Should See An Orthodontist Earlier Than You Might Have Expected

Posted on: 15 September 2022


Does an adult with permanent teeth have different dental needs than a child with baby teeth? The principles are the same, but the details are a little different. This might be a little confusing when it comes to a kid's orthodontic needs. Logically, don't you have to wait until a kid's adult teeth have developed before braces can even be considered? 

Developing Teeth

As soon as their first teeth start to erupt from their gums, your child should start seeing a pediatric dentist or a kid's dentist specializing in baby teeth. You should ask that dentist for the best time to see an orthodontist. An examination by an orthodontist is always wise with developing teeth, as it ensures that teeth emerge in their optimal alignment, with any orthodontic issues (such as problems with your child's bite) being identified as soon as possible. This first orthodontic visit should happen earlier than you might expect.

Mixed Dentition

If braces are needed for your child, this treatment can begin sooner than you might have thought was possible. If you thought that it seemed redundant to attach orthodontic braces to baby teeth, you'd be correct. Once your child's baby teeth begin to detach and are replaced by adult teeth, your child will have a combination of both baby and adult teeth in their mouth. This is a period of dental development known as mixed dentition and is an ideal time for braces.

Teenage Years

Your child doesn't need to wait until their teenage years to get braces. In fact, when an orthodontist predicts that a child's adult teeth may develop severe misalignment as they erupt, waiting until the teenage years may be too late. As long as an adequate number of adult teeth have erupted (and they generally erupt in a fairly predictable order), braces can be fitted. These braces won't disrupt the eruption of your child's other adult teeth. As it happens, they can make this eruption more efficient.

Alignment and Spacing

Braces during the mixed dentition phase keep adult teeth in alignment, holding them as straight as possible. It's this vertical alignment that ensures the rest of your child's adult teeth have adequate space to erupt and develop. This is why braces in the mixed dentition phase can be so efficient at helping the teeth to emerge in alignment and with the correct spacing. This ensures that your child's adult teeth aren't overcrowded, as this can cause teeth to overlap and become crooked, which can require more extensive orthodontic work to correct.

As long as your child has a sufficient number of adult teeth, they're a suitable candidate for braces, if braces are needed to ensure the correct spacing and alignment of their adult teeth. Talk to a kid's orthodontist to learn more.