For many parents, braces only enter the conversation when the child’s teeth are clearly misaligned, overcrowded, or overly spaced. However, waiting for this long means that the treatment will take more time and money than if you had discovered the problems at their early stages.
Ideally, you should take your child for an orthodontic evaluation yearly from the time they hit 7 years until their teenage years. This ensures that any budding problems with the teeth or bite are identified and corrected when the kid is still young. The orthodontist may also prescribe routines and medications to prevent other conditions in the future.
Generally, the best age to get started with braces is between 11 and 14 years. At these ages, the child’s permanent teeth will be fully grown but their mouth and jawlines will still be developing, which makes it easy for the braces to correct the teeth alignment, fix spaces, and strengthen the bite.
If advised to wear braces, your child’s oral care routine will also need to change for the better to avoid interfering with the braces. In particular, the child will need to brush at least twice a day. If possible, they should also integrate flossing and mouthwash into their routines to ensure they completely get rid of anything that can harbor bacteria.
The orthodontist may also require the child to avoid foods that can damage the braces or interfere with their working. And contrary to the popular view that only junk snacks, gummy bears, and candy are bad for developing teeth, even erstwhile healthy foods like carrots are not advisable to take when one is wearing braces.
The efficacy of orthodontic treatments depends to a large extent on the child’s age, oral care standards, and most importantly, the severity of their condition. Basically, younger kids complete their treatments in just a few months, as do those with good dental care routines.
On average, it takes at least 12 months for the results of most orthodontic to become visible and imprinted in the mouth. Children who are above 15 years or have more advanced conditions may require treatment for as long as 36 months, which is considerably lower than what it would take for, say, an 11-year-old. It is, however, not something to worry about unless the dentist specifies otherwise.