What is the point of starting braces so early in children?

When patients ask me, “Does my child really need braces?” I have such a hard time responding. Whether someone needs braces or not is not always clear-cut. I think that braces could almost always be beneficial to any child early on, but it’s just not as easy to say whether they are necessary. Here are some things to consider when having a consult with an orthodontist for your young child on the benefits of early treatment:

  • Starting treatment when children are young can make space for the adult teeth to erupt a little less crowded.
  • Early treatment can help give kids more self-confidence at a younger age.
  • Starting young can solve developmental issues that could cause the jaws to grow asymmetrically.
  • Early treatment can make the second round of braces shorter and usually ends up helping save money on the second round of treatment.

At our office, even with all of these benefits from starting young, Dr. Nelson still only sees the need to start children under the age of 10 about 10-15% of the time. Most of the time we wait until all of the adult teeth are in place and kids are ready for just one round of treatment.

Why? Because not every young child NEEDS braces. There are definitely always benefits that could be achieved early on, but total treatment length and cost are always less if treatment can be completed in one phase.

Visit your local orthodontist to see if your child NEEDS early treatment, or if it can wait. Please reach out to us with any questions – we’d be happy to answer!