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When to Start Braces
Posted on 10/11/2015 by Fariba Mutschler
Many parents comment on the number of kids in second or third grade who have some braces.

Treating with two phases of orthodontic care can usually be avoided. Good evidence exists that most orthodontic treatment is best provided at one time as a pre-teen.

However, there ARE times when early orthodontic treatment is useful.

Orthodontic problems that are best treated early:


•  lower front teeth that bite outside of upper teeth (a cross bite)
•  a cross bite of the back teeth
•  lower jaw that bites forward of the upper jaw
•  a shift of the lower jaw to one side
•  very crowded front teeth
•  early loss of a baby molar
•  lips cannot cover upper teeth that stick out very far

Most of these early orthodontic problems can be treated without actual braces.

Appliances to widen the upper jaw or to hold open baby tooth space are most commonly used.

Once you start orthodontic tooth movements, you will almost always have to use retainers. This means that the sooner you start, the longer you will have to wear retainers.

Orthodontic problems that are best treated as a pre-teen:


•  crowded teeth
•  spaced teeth
•  upper teeth that stick out but can be protected by lips
•  lower jaw that is back from upper jaw
•  missing permanent teeth

A good time to start braces is about 6th grade when the last baby teeth are all out or nearly out and the second permanent molars are in or almost in.

This gives us enough freedom to take advantage of the larger baby molars or the growth potential of newly erupting teeth but reduces the extra time needed to wait for teeth to grow in or to wear retainers.
My daughter was a little nervous to have her dental work done but everyone in the office was super friendly and very reassuring and that helped her nervousness go away. Thanks for the excellent dental experience. ~ Lilyana G.


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