Generally, there is no hard and fast rule as to when it’s the best time to start braces.
At Neo Smiles, the majority of our full-treatment orthodontic patients are those that have transited into full adult dentition and that the baby teeth have already exfoliated. This usually happens around the age of 10-14.
There are of course exceptions.
For example, if your child has a bite so severe that it causes social issues such as other children making fun of them, it may be appropriate to start them early.
Or perhaps, if your child’s teeth are sticking out so far forward that they are in danger of being damaged during sport activities or during a fall–Early treatment can be much beneficial to them.
There may also be problems in your child’s bite at a young age that causes an interference in the normal development of the adult teeth. Such cases should be corrected early as well.
Some of these treatment methods may fall under the growth modification category. Growth modification is done to help the upper and lower jaws relate nicely to one another. It is done while the patient is still growing, and hence is sometimes started earlier. Growth modification may also avoid the need for jaw surgery correction in adulthood for some patients.
However, just as some patients need to start treatment early, some will need to have their treatment timing delayed.
Some children with certain jaw problems continue growing for a few years beyond those with normal bites. If a patient with such a growth pattern continues growing after removal of braces, they may outgrow their correction and require additional prolonged unwanted treatment. To prevent this, we will usually need to monitor these patients’ growth and start treatment only after it has stopped. This may be when the patient is at least 16 years old or older.
If you are concerned about your child’s bite, but unsure as to how to go about it, we always advise that it is a good idea to bring your child early to a dentist for an assessment.