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One of the most important stages for future oral health is the process of losing milk teeth and gaining adult teeth. Teaching your child how to properly look after their teeth and gums from an early age can ensure that their adult teeth emerge strong and healthy.

However, the level at which a child looks after their milk teeth cannot determine any size or shape irregularities their adult teeth may already have before emerging. Due to genetics, your child may have adult teeth that erupt at skewed angles, some appearing to grow above others, and some can be twisted as they compete for space. In most cases, these issues resolve themselves, however, around one-third of children in the UK experience problems that require orthodontic attention.

As a parent, it is normal to worry about your child’s teeth and if they are experiencing some of the issues mentioned above, you may be faced with the decision of if and when your child should start braces treatment. Let’s try and clear this up for you below…


Understanding Why Your Child may Need Braces

A general guide to children’s teeth is that most will have gained all their baby teeth at around 3 years old, then around ages 5 to 6 most children will start to lose these teeth and gain adult teeth. By the age of 12 to 14, most children will have all their permanent teeth, apart from wisdom teeth.

As all children are different, and teeth emerge at different stages in life, orthodontic treatment also follows the same suit. Whether your child needs braces is unique to them, however, some signs may point toward your child needing braces now or in the future, these are:

  • Protruding teeth.
  • Eating difficulties.
  • A misaligned or out-of-proportion jaw.
  • Very crowded front teeth.
  • Speech problems.
  • Early or late loss of baby teeth – before age 5 or after age 14.
  • Over or underbite.
  • Clenching teeth or grinding.
  • Mouth-breathing and/ or snoring.

At around the age of 6 or 7, you may start to see the above signs and as a parent, it is important to understand that if you had braces, it is likely your child will need them too.


Braces for Children: The Orthodontic Process

For children, visiting the dentist can be scary, and for some adults it can be too! However, your dentist will be the first person to point out or confirm to you that your child may need orthodontic treatment, so getting an appointment at the earliest opportunity is advised.


Visiting the Orthodontist

If your dentist has advised seeking the advice of an orthodontist, your child’s first visit will include a full oral examination. Here, the orthodontist will assess how your child’s jaws interact, how the teeth sit together, and predict how their teeth will be affected in the future. An x-ray may be required to confirm whether your child needs braces and a mold of their teeth will be taken to confirm what treatments will suit them best. As your child’s parent, it is your responsibility to choose a specialist orthodontist and one that will put your child’s needs first.

Choosing Braces for Your Child

If confirmed that your child needs braces, it is then time for the all-important decision of which types of braces will work for their dental issue but also be comfortable and easy to maintain for the child. Braces for children include:

  • Fixed Braces – traditional metal or train track braces allow precise adjustments to individual teeth and can be customised with different coloured bands. Ceramic braces are also an option if your child wants their brace to be less noticeable. Ceramic braces can be both clear and tooth coloured.
  • Removable – functional twin block braces can be used to correct teeth that stick out and are suitable for a child who is still growing. Clear aligners such as Invisalign Teen are an option if your child is slightly older and feels self-conscious about others knowing they are wearing braces.
  • Headgear – some children may require headgear which helps attach a horseshoe-like wire to the back of the teeth but in most cases, this only needs to be worn at night.


Braces Care and Maintenance

This is where your knowledge and patience as a parent comes, in helping your child look after their teeth and their braces once fitted. Your child may feel uncomfortable after fitting, reassurance, orthodontic wax and child paracetamol can help them through these initial stages. Help them understand how important brushing is, after every meal and in the morning and before bed and help them get used to flossing, using the orthodontic tools handed to you by your orthodontist. Lastly, keep high-sugar foods to a minimum and help your child understand how they can damage your teeth. We understand that restricting them all together is not possible but if you teach your child how these foods impact their teeth now and in the future, it will help them to take responsibility for their oral health.


What is the Right Age for my Child to get Braces?

There is no definitive age that is best for anyone to get braces, however, orthodontic treatment often starts around the age of 10 to 14, once permanent teeth have emerged. In some serious cases, children can start treatment as early as 7 or 8 but this is unique to each child and the best way to determine when to start orthodontic treatment is to have a discussion with your dentist or to book a consultation with an orthodontist.

There is no age limit for braces, but many orthodontists tend to suggest addressing issues before they worsen. 


How Will Braces Help My Child’s Dental Issues?

Straight teeth are easier to keep clean, meaning that tooth decay and gum disease are less likely to occur. This is one of the jobs braces do, alongside creating a healthy bite function and addressing teeth alignment and jaw positioning issues, enabling your child to eat and speak properly. Other ways braces can help are by:

  • Lessening impaction (teeth getting stuck in the gums).
  • Guiding the growth of the jawbone.
  • Guiding teeth in the correct position as they emerge.
  • Ensuring adequate space for emerging teeth.
  • Fixing malocclusion (upper and lower teeth don’t bite together properly).


How a Specialist Orthodontist in Chorley can Help

At Chorley Orthodontics, we provide a wide choice of modern treatment options for your child, with the dental health and well-being of your child the focus of any treatment plan.  We are a friendly and compassionate orthodontist in Chorley, well-equipped to deal with not only your child’s dental issues but their feelings and emotions around these issues also. 

If you are unsure whether treatment is right for your child and want to discuss it further, contact us today to book a free consultation at our specialist orthodontist in Chorley.


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