Breaking Down Your Treatment Options
Generally speaking, orthodontic and other dental-related issues can happen at nearly any age— meaning that braces for children are almost always a good idea, regardless of the age of the patient in question. So long as the child has lost his or her baby teeth and their permanent teeth have come in, you can correct virtually any issue with the right type of treatment applied at just the right time during their development.
The keyword there, however, is development— something that will continue to happen as the child ages. While it is absolutely true that an ideal period for braces is between the ages of 10 and 14-years-old, it's important to note that the child's mouth and jaw will continue to develop and evolve over time. This means that, even after treatment has finished, they will still likely need to wear a retainer to prevent their teeth from returning to their original placement.
When you also consider the wide range of different benefits that braces for children bring with them— like an improved ability to eat, a reduced risk of cavities and periodontal disease, a reduced risk of grinding and chipping of teeth and more - it's easy to see why this is a decision readily made by so many parents out there.
Reasons For Early Treatment
As stated, braces for children can help correct nearly any dental issue that the patient may experience. This can include but is certainly not limited to issues like:
A severe crossbite, which describes a situation where a tooth or even multiple teeth are too close to either the teeth or the tongue than its corresponding tooth in the upper or lower dental arch
Severe crowding, which is exactly what it sounds like - a situation where the child's teeth are far too close together, creates problems eating or even difficulty speaking moving forward
Excessive spacing, which is essentially the opposite of severe crowding and describes a situation where the child's teeth are too far apart
An underbite, which involves a scenario when the lower teeth extend beyond the upper row of teeth in a child's mouth
An overbite, which is almost the inverse of an underbite where the upper teeth extend beyond the lower row of teeth in a child's mouth
Generally speaking, the total amount of time that a child will need to wear braces will depend almost entirely on which of the aforementioned dental issues they are trying to correct, along with the severity of those issues. Having said that, most kids wear braces for approximately two years.
Types of Braces Available For Kids
Metal braces, which are the ones that most people are familiar with. In this configuration, brackets are placed on the teeth that are connected together via a metal wire. The tensile strength of that wire gently 'pulls' the teeth into the desired position.
Ceramic braces, which use a ceramic bracket system instead of a metal one. The ceramic brackets are still connected together via an archwire.
Your orthodontic professional will go over all of these options will you in great detail to help you make the most informed choice possible on behalf of your child.