Dentist Questions Braces, Oral

How young is 'too young' for braces?

I took my son to his dentist the other day, and he's only 7 years old. His dentist told us that he is going to need braces soon. Isn't 7 years old too young to tell if a child needs braces?

12 Answers

Typically crooked teeth can be straightened between age 8 to 10 and then from 12 onward when all the baby teeth have been lost. Some orthodontic treatments start at age 6 or even earlier.

This varies case by case. Although the dentist said 'soon,' he could mean somewhere in the near future when your child is in his teens. Typically, a dentist will say this in advance so the parent can keep an open mind about braces in the future.

Thank you for your patience.
I am not a fan of early age braces; unless special circumstances warrant it.
If baby teeth aligned normally and the patient doesnot have any permanent teeth in his/her mouth, "too young" for braces.
It's normal, start treatment while jaw is growing
Early braces help with expansion and in some cases decrease the chance of needing braces in the future or shortens the time needed in the future! Phase one is recommended if needed.
Nope. Your dentist obviously sees a discrepancy developing in your child now that needs correction. Early interceptive orthodontics is done on kids ages 6-9 years old. You have a very caring dentist who has your child's best interest at heart.
When there is crowding of the primary/baby teeth, that is often an indicator that a child may need braces. Other considerations are jaw sizes, discrepancies, narrow palate, habits (i.e., thumb sucking, etc.). So, there are times when it may be suggested that a 7-year-old see an orthodontist for an evaluation. Sometimes the orthodontist will simply monitor the child until the time is appropriate for braces. There are mixed ideas on whether orthodontics should be done in phases or when the adult dentition has fully erupted. Each patient is unique so there needs to be a decision that makes sense to both the patient/parent and the dentist/orthodontist. Second opinions are always a good idea. You, as the parent, need to be comfortable with the options.

In health,

Dr. Rankin
HI there, and thanks for your question. The age to start braces actually depends on the condition being treated. For example, If there is a habit such as thumbsucking, orthodontic treatment will start sooner. The norm for braces is around 11-13 years old. Girls have a growth spurt at around 11, and boys 13. Your dentist will be able to guide you.
Hope this helps.
No, 7 years old is generally the right time to be evaluated for braces since this is when the permanent teeth are making their way into the mouth. In some cases, orthodontists can tell even earlier (age 3-4) that a child will need braces based on their primary teeth and growth benchmarks. An orthodontist, and some general dentists, can provide a "Phase I" intervention/orthodontic treatment in the early ages (6-11) before all the permanent teeth erupt if they see that there won't be enough room for some of the teeth to erupt.
Tricky question ... there are some minor things that can be corrected at a young age. Also, by using the word "braces," are we only talking about metal things that go on the front side of teeth? Sometimes a child can benefit from an early intervention into correcting a bad situation, such as irregular jaw relationships, improper arch sizes or developments. This would involve orthodontic appliances and some are metal and some are plastic, some are fixed inside the mouth, some are removable...

Thank you for your question. I commend you for your concern for your child's health and smile. Most times, the first permanent molars are erupted by age 6. The way that they bite together can give a good indication if braces will be needed (more severely misaligned jaws can be noticed even earlier.).

Dr. Ron Williamson