Parents often ask: When is the right time for my child to get braces?
Today's parents are more concerned about their children's dental condition than ever before.
In most cases, it is reasonable to wait until the permanent teeth have erupted before considering orthodontic treatment. However, in specific situations, early orthodontic intervention can provide significant benefits for a child's dental, facial, and psychological development.
In this article, let's discuss the benefits of early orthodontic treatment for children.
Reduced Risk of Dental Trauma
Protruding upper front teeth, commonly known as "buck teeth," are a common occurrence in children. In the UK, nearly one in four teenagers aged twelve has issues with protruding front teeth. Research has shown that protruding front teeth increase the risk of dental trauma, with the potential for fractured tooth crowns or roots, or even the loss of an entire tooth. Active adolescents, especially boys, are at a higher risk of dental injuries.
The upper front teeth typically erupt around the age of 6-7. If a dentist identifies the risk of dental trauma due to protruding front teeth, they may recommend early orthodontic treatment to correct the condition. Since some of the permanent teeth have not yet erupted, this treatment focuses only on the erupted permanent incisors and is known as Phase One treatment. If misalignment is observed after the eruption of other permanent teeth, a second phase of orthodontic treatment may be necessary.
According to a publication in the Cochrane Library in March 2018, there is sufficient evidence to support early orthodontic treatment (age 7 to 11) for children with protruding front teeth, as it can reduce their risk of dental trauma.
Reduced Risk of Gum Recession
Teeth are surrounded by periodontal tissues, including the gums and alveolar bone. If proper oral hygiene and care are not maintained, dental plaque can accumulate over time, leading to periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is a major cause of gum recession.
During the transitional dentition phase when children are losing their primary teeth and the permanent teeth are erupting, there are instances where the lower incisors may erupt in front of the upper incisors, causing improper anterior tooth alignment. In such cases, the misaligned lower incisors bear a significant load during biting, especially considering that the lower incisors are naturally supported by relatively thin alveolar bone. If a child experiences periodontal inflammation due to poor oral hygiene, the risk of gum recession increases substantially.
Early orthodontic treatment that aligns the lower incisors into a proper occlusal position can relieve unnecessary stress on the lower incisors during biting. If the patient maintains good oral hygiene, the condition of gum recession can stabilize and even be partially reversed.