Patients and dentists make the decision to invest in braces for many different reasons. These days, it’s rare to see an adult with braces because doctors have realized the benefits of early treatment. Depending on the condition being treated, some patients might benefit from getting braces earlier. They have definitely become more popular among teenagers and are a common sight throughout the halls of middle schools everywhere. But how young is too young?
Depending on the severity and type of your child’s orthodontic condition, braces could be a process that takes several years to complete. This is a big commitment during the formative time of adolescent life. Some dentists are recommending the decision be made sooner for several reasons.
To begin with, children tend to be less self-conscious when they are younger. The difference between self-esteem and social dynamics in elementary and middle school is significant. Braces have acquired a kind of social stigma, and might be seen as dorky or uncool. If you can avoid making life harder for your child by giving them a great smile at a younger age, some doctors say this is reason enough to jumpstart the process.
One of the most common orthodontic problems in children is crowded teeth. Making the decision to get braces early won’t help this condition, and might actually extend the overall treatment period. Although it might be appealing on a cosmetic level, remember that the most important goal of braces is to give your child a healthier mouth.
In most cases, however, orthodontic treatment can be just as effective if the braces get put on a couple years sooner. In fact, patients with conditions that influence the shape of the bite might find that earlier treatment is even more successful. Preventing certain developments depends on a window of opportunity in young children. It takes less time to correct a problem that hasn’t reached an advanced stage.
If your child truly dreads the idea of getting braces, don’t worry. There are several options, and your dentist is dedicated to making the process as painless and quick as possible.
Talk to your family dentist about developing a specific treatment plan for your child today.