When to start kid’s orthodontics and early intervention

Children’s orthodontics and braces are the new COOL and for good reason. Investing in straight teeth at a young age sets your child up for a lifetime of happy, healthy smiles.

In this blog, we chat with Dr Ghadir Bardan to find out:

  • What is early orthodontic intervention treatment for kids?
  • What age does early orthodontic intervention start?
  • How to book for an early intervention assessment
  • Does early intervention orthodontics hurt?
  • What age braces and aligners start
Hi Dr Ghadir, thanks for your time today. So, what is early intervention orthodontic treatment and why do kids need it?

Dr Ghadir:
Early intervention orthodontic treatment, or early interceptive treatment, realigns your kids’ teeth and jaw to help their teeth grow into the right position. This usually happens before we consider braces or aligners for your child, but not always.

Sometimes the problem is not the position of the teeth but the position or relative sizes of your kids’ jaw. For example, your child’s jaw may be too small or too narrow and needs to be enlarged to accommodate their adult teeth in the future.

If your child has habits such as thumb sucking, this can have a negative effect on the growth of their jaws which will need treating otherwise they will not have space for all their adult teeth when they are older.

By intervening at a young age, we can help your kid’s adult teeth grow into the correct position without resorting to more intrusive treatment, such as removing teeth. We’re physically changing how their jaw is growing to give it a helping hand.

The great thing about early intervention orthodontic treatment is that it can reduce the need for braces in the future, or remove the need altogether. It’s a great treatment option that just wasn’t around 20 years ago.

What age would you start early intervention for children?

Dr Ghadir:
We start checking if children need early intervention between the ages of 7 and 9. This is an important time for the development of their teeth and jaw. Treatment typically starts at 8 years of age.

Your child’s bones and jaw are still developing between the ages of 7 and 9, so it’s much easier for us to realign the teeth and jaw at this age as opposed to when they’re an adult.

Do kids need to book in with you for an orthodontic check?

Dr Ghadir:
If you’re already a patient at Warragul Dental Care, then our brilliant team of Oral Health Therapists will be performing an orthodontic screening as standard. If one of our Oral Health Therapists think your child will benefit from an orthodontic screening, they’ll refer you to me or one of the Dental team for a check. We work very closely with all the team to give you the best care possible.

If you’re not already a patient or having regular checks, then yes, we’d advise that you book in for an orthodontic assessment around that age. Especially if you’ve noticed that your child is struggling to bite or eat, or has teeth that are protruding (potentially caused by thumb-sucking), over-crowded, feel sore, or are collecting food between them.

What’s involved in early orthodontic treatment?

Dr Ghadir:
Good question, it’s always good to know what to expect.

To help move your child’s jaw, we might recommend plates or an expander to gently open their jaw and make room for their permanent teeth to grow. The device might sit on the roof of their mouth across their top teeth, around their lower teeth, or both. It will slowly open up and reposition their jaw. This is the most common treatment we use.

By using these tools, your child can avoid more serious treatment further down the line, such as removing teeth and breaking the jaw to make room. Sounds drastic but it does happen!

Do the early orthodontic appliances hurt?

Dr Ghadir:
With early intervention we’re moving the jaw and teeth around, so there will be some temporary discomfort.

It’s the same sensation as with braces. The discomfort won’t last long and most kids get distracted with life and don’t notice it.

Your child’s mouth might feel tender but this means it’s working and things are moving into place.

The early intervention treatment is a lot less invasive and painful than treatment at a later age, which is why we recommend it.

How long does a child have to wear the early invention appliance for?

Dr Ghadir:
Usually around 6 to 12 months. You’ll be amazed how quickly children get used to it – they’re very adaptable.

Obviously, an adult will need to check that they’re wearing it regularly to keep treatment time to a minimum and make sure it has maximum impact. We always speak to parents or responsible adults to make sure they understand how to get the most out of treatment.

OK, onto braces and aligners. What age do children start thinking about braces?

Dr Ghadir:
You’ll be surprised, braces can start from as young as 8 years old. It all depends on the child and their needs. Some children won’t need early intervention treatment, some won’t need braces – that’s why we start orthodontic assessments early so we can keep on top of things and provide the best treatment at the right age.

By the age of 14, most children will have all their adult teeth, so this is a common time to start braces or aligners to reposition the teeth.

It’s difficult to give a definitive answer as every patient is different, we recommend you come in early and keep up with your regular checks to make sure you get the right treatment at the right time.

Can kids wear Invisalign aligners?

Dr Ghadir:
Yes, if your child has been told they need braces you may be able to opt for Invisalign aligners instead, which are a more discreet option.

With younger patients, we tend to recommend traditional braces because they can’t be removed and once they’re on, you won’t need to think about them. Older children and teenagers may be more suited to Invisalign aligners as they’re likely to wear them all day and not take them out.

From a treatment point of view, one option may be better than the other to get the best results in the shortest amount of time.

Thank you so much Dr Ghadir! Phew, that was a lot of information to take in.

Dr Ghadir:
Yes, but you don’t need to know it all, that’s what we’re here for! If you have any further questions just get in touch with our brilliant team. We work together really closely and can answer all your questions about children’s teeth and orthodontics.

Oh, you’re still there Ghadir! Thank you, this has been great.

Straight-talking about kid’s orthodontics

If you’d like to chat to our lovely team about your child’s orthodontic needs, get in touch by calling 5623 5588 or by heading to our website and booking online.

We can’t wait to see you!

Opening Hours
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Fri: 8am-5:30pm
Sat-Sun: Closed

49 Victoria Street,
Warragul Victoria 3820

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