Cutting-Edge Dental Care in Santa Clarita
Child with braces

What Is the Best Age to Start Orthodontic Treatment?

There are many reasons why millions of parents turn to orthodontics each year to straighten their children’s teeth. Beyond a dazzling smile, braces correct misalignments to help children chew and speak with ease. When, though, is the right time to start?

At Skyline Smiles, board-certified pediatric dentist Dr. Harleen Grewal and our team understand the role that orthodontics can play in a child’s current and future health. We also understand that each case is unique, which is why we offer several different approaches to orthodontics in children.

In the following, we explore some age ranges during which we can improve your child’s dental health through orthodontics.

Starting young

Traditionally, we waited until all of your child’s adult teeth came in before we outfitted them with braces, but there are some advantages to starting earlier with their baby teeth. Called two-phase orthodontics, through this type of earlier intervention we can:

  • Reduce the amount of time they wear braces as an adolescent
  • Avoid the need to pull adult teeth
  • Correct malocclusion (misalignment in the jaws) during development
  • Protect your child’s baby teeth

We want to stress that two-phase orthodontic treatments are not cosmetic, but, rather, play a beneficial role in improving their dental health moving forward.

The typical timeline for two-phase orthodontic treatments starts between the ages of 7 and 9. During this time, we place braces on your child’s teeth for about a year, and then we outfit them with a retainer after we remove the orthodontics. Your child wears the retainer for three years during what we call a “resting phase.” Once your child’s permanent teeth are all in, we then reapply the appropriate orthodontics for another year to 18 months.

Please bear in mind that this timeline is just a general rule of thumb, and treatment times can vary.

Waiting for permanent teeth

If, during your child’s orthodontic assessments, we find that we can wait until your child’s permanent teeth come in, we can start their orthodontic treatments later. 

Children typically begin losing their baby teeth at the age of six, and the process can continue for several years as all 20 baby teeth are pushed out by their permanent teeth. Most kids have all of their permanent teeth by the time they’re 11 or 12 years old (except for their wisdom teeth, which erupt later). To give you an idea of the timetable, this chart is helpful.

An adult decision

Although we’ve focused on what age is appropriate for children to receive orthodontics, we’d like to point out that you can straighten your own teeth at any time. We offer adult dental services, including the Invisalign® system, which relies on removable clear aligners to discreetly straighten your teeth and improve your smile.

The bottom line is that orthodontics can play a valuable role in dental health at most any age. If you’d like to schedule your orthodontic assessment today, contact our office in Santa Clarita, California, to set up an appointment. Please note that for your safety and ours, we’re taking the necessary precautions (and then some) to protect against COVID-19.