At what age should my child get braces?

When children get their permanent teeth – in almost all cases some of the permanent teeth come down crooked. This results in the distortion of the child’s smile or his/her general appearance. Parents find it very difficult to tolerate their precious child’s misshapen face or distorted smile. And they immediately start thinking of going to the dentist for braces.

In many cases however the child may be too young for braces. And orthodontic treatment may be started prematurely because parents are extremely anxious about having the correction being done. Or because they are so worried that the child will look like this forever if they don’t start the treatment early enough.

Also read Does my Child need Braces?

In this article and video Dr Krishnaraj explains what dentists look for when the start orthodontic treatment and put in braces – so that parents can be patient and wait for the right time.

Dr Krishnaraj answers the question – At what age should my child get braces?

dr krishnaraj ganeshnarayan

Dr Krishnaraj Ganeshnarayan

Dr Krishnaraj Ganeshnarayan is a renowned periodontist with the highest qualifications in dentistry that anyone can possibly have. He is BDS, MDS and also has a Ph.D from the Rutgers University USA.Dr Krishnaraj is a Consultant Periodntist at Delta Dental Care which is owned and managed by his wife Dr Arundhati Krishnaraj. He is also professor at a reputed dental college and has worked extensively to bring about quality assurance in dental practice for NABH. Dr Krishnaraj enjoys making complicated things in the dental sciences – simple and easy to understand and apply for his patients


At what age should a child get braces done?

 The right age for starting orthodontic treatment and putting in braces to correct crooked and misaligned teeth is estimated by a dentist based on the following points

  1.  All the milk teeth should have fallen and permanent teeth should have come – In most conventional cases one of the first questions the dentist asks is have all the milk teeth fallen? And have all the permanent teeth appeared? So in conventional cases a dentist will start the orthodontic treatment and put in braces only once he has examined the teeth and satisfied himself that there are no milk teeth left in the mouth. And also that all the permanent teeth have descended into the mouth.
  2. The average age for starting orthodontic treatment is 12 – By the age of 12 most children will have a complete set of permanent teeth. And so 12 years is usually considered the right age for orthodontic treatment.
  3. Treatment may be started earlier in cases of jaw discrepancies – In many cases the child has a lower jaw that is protruding in front or is too far behind the upper jaw. Or the upper jaw may be too far behind the lower jaw. In such cases – the dentist may decide to start orthodontic treatment even before all the permanent teeth have appeared. In case of skeletal discrepancies of the jaw orthodontic treatment may be started before 12 ears of age

Detailed article continues below the video

What is the Ugly Duckling stage in case of teeth?

 In certain children when they are 9 years or 10 years of age – they start developing increased gaps in between the teeth. Parents find this very disturbing because their children who had cute smiles – no longer have such cute smiles because of these gaps. However, it is important to remember that these gaps are actually good for the teeth. By making these gaps – the milk teeth accommodate and make place for the permanent teeth which are much wider – to come down.

So the gaps between the teeth cause a few days of panic about the appearance of the child- but it is important to listen to the dentist and wait out this stage. The permanent grow into the mouth and rearrange themselves on their own and once this done – orthodontic correction may not be required at all.

So – listen to our child’s dentist and wait until your child is 12 years old to start orthodontic treatment and decide whether braces are needed or not.

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