When to do Early Treatment

Bandeen Orthodontics understands that perfect teeth take time and dedication. Even though a lot of kids have braces or expanders around 8 through 10 years of age, most of those kids will have treatment a second time when they are around 12 or 13 years of age. In the end, people have treatment once at around 12 or 13 years of age will look just as good, if not better, than people who had treatment twice.

So, why would anyone have treatment twice if it will look just as good doing it once? There are three reasons to have early treatment:

  1. Extreme Self-Consciousness: Someone is too self-conscious to wait.
  2. Emergencies: There will be pain or damage unless we change something.
  3. Airway Concerns: We see kids who have sleep apnea or concerns due to narrowness of their airway. Many kids with sleep apnea have normal size mouths but with large tonsils and adenoids. Other kids have small mouths and can see an improvement in their airway by making their mouths bigger. Either way, kids with airway concerns can often benefit both from orthodontics to widen their airway as well as an evaluation with their family doctor or an Ear, Nose, & Throat doctor (ENT) to see if there is something blocking their airway.

It’s typically not harmful to have treatment twice, but the question is more “is it necessary?” We can see kids look better after having treatment at around 8-10 years of age, but that doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t look just as good by the time they are finished with a single time in treatment around age 12-13 years of age.

There are times that treatment twice can be a good idea, but treatment twice is rarely necessary. A lot of kids have treatment twice because their families were not presented with the option to have waited. We agree with the American Orthodontics Association and the American Association of Pediatric Dentists by recommending that kids should be seen for an orthodontic evaluation by around age 7 years of age. That doesn’t mean that everyone should have treatment at age 7 years, but it does mean that everyone should be checked in case your child is one of the few who might need some help early. About one in 20 kids who see us can benefit from treatment twice. We see a lot of kids for second opinions who were told that they needed to start right away only to give them the good news that they can wait. Realistic discussion of the big picture is really important.

Much of what we do for younger kids is check that they are growing well. We can answer questions for families as to whether the teeth are developing well and give advice on what to be watching for as the kids grow. Again, most kids won’t benefit from orthodontic treatment until around 12 or 13 years of age, but early checking is a really good idea. If you are looking for braces for your child or teen, contact Bandeen Orthodontics today.