Probably the most common question I am asked as an Orthodontist is, “when should my child visit the orthodontist? Aren’t they a little young for braces?”
There are a few common myths and misconceptions going around regarding this question. Parents often quiz me about them. In this BLOG, I am going to bust a couple of myths around the question “when should my child get braces?”
Myth Number 1: “I heard you shouldn’t need to see an orthodontist until all the baby teeth have dropped out”.
This is the most common myth, and is completely wrong! Although Orthodontists use braces and aligners to correct orthodontic problems, in reality we spend most of our time in the clinic looking after young kids and actively trying to prevent orthodontic problems occurring in the first place.
In my opinion, every child should see a Specialist Orthodontist before the age of 9 years. This is because, by 9 years old, an Orthodontist can reliably predict if a child will develop orthodontic problems. We can often take simple measures to reduce or even avoid major orthodontic problems being carried over into the adult teeth.
Myth Number 2: “I was told that you should wait until your child has stopped growing before you do braces”.
For me, this is the worst myth imaginable! Just recently I saw a 17 year old girl, and her mum told me that she was advised to have an expander when her daughter was young. Her mum heard this myth from a friend. So, she decided to ignore the orthodontist’s recommendation, and wait until her daughter was fully grown.
Sadly for the daughter, she now required a surgical operation. This issue could’ve been corrected with a simple fix while she was still growing. By believing this myth over the orthodontist, the mum had missed an opportunity for a simple correction of her daughter’s orthodontic problem.
The truth is, every child is different. Many orthodontic problems are best fixed while your child is still actively growing. Only a very few specific orthodontic problems are best left until the child is fully grown. Therefore, it is best to listen to the advice of a professional. They can advise you on your child’s specific circumstances.