Dr. Shelby Smith
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Can young children get braces?

Years ago, orthodontic treatment was only for kids over the age of 11 or 12. But today’s orthodontists now treat children as young as eight years old. Called interceptive, or phase I orthodontics, braces in early childhood can reduce time in braces later on and correct problems before they become more serious.

Children’s baby teeth have a big impact on the health of their permanent teeth. That’s why it’s so important to catch major issues with baby teeth before permanent teeth erupt!

Since kids can start dental exams as soon as their first tooth comes in, your dentist or orthodontic specialist can track any issues that may warrant phase I orthodontics. A consultation at around age seven with an orthodontic specialist will evaluate your child for these conditions:

  • Difficulty chewing or speaking
  • Missing or diseased baby teeth
  • Wide gaps between teeth
  • Severe overcrowding
  • Mouth breathing
  • Protruding teeth
  • Severe bite issues
  • Problems with jaw, facial, or teeth symmetry

If your child needs phase I orthodontics, treatment may begin at age eight and may continue in a less invasive, phase II treatment. Dentists use a variety of treatments with young children, which may include both removable and non-removable appliances, such as space maintainers, bands, palatal expanders, and braces.

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