Braces for kids, when and why?
First checkup by an orthodontist should be around 8 years of age, when some permanent teeth have come. Most people are unaware about the importance of preventive and interceptive orthodontics, which usually starts before the actual braces are put up and can actually prevent a full fledged braces treatment later. Or in some cases, the duration of braces can be lessened or the need for extraction can be mitigated.
Many times, initial signs of creeping jaw discrepancy can be detected at this stage and appropriate actions can be planned for future. The girls mature faster than boys, thereby completing a major part of jaw growth is complete by the time they achieve menarche (starting of menstruation), which is around 11-12 yrs of age.
So, the general myth among family dentists that any thought towards tooth alignment or orthodontic checkup should be given after 12 only when second permanent molars erupt; this can actually make kids lose the opportunity of better jaw alignment or non extraction treatment.
While the permanent canines in upper jaw erupt around 11-12 years of age, if any expansion of the upper jaw is needed, it can be achieved best before this time. Since early treatment not just corrects the jaws, it actually redirects the jaw growth, thus best and most stable results can be achieved now.
Simple holding appliances in early age, prevents a full-fledged braces treatment later. Many times extractions become compulsory later which could have been avoided if early intervention is done. Jaw problems can be a small lower and big upper jaw and vice versa.
Generally a general dentist may be unable to detect such discrepancy and only an orthodontist may tell this with help of jaw X rays and clinical examination.