When it comes to straightening teeth, the earlier you start, the better. Because children's jaws continue to grow until they are in their late teens, it's often wise to begin orthodontic treatment early on.
But what if your child still has baby teeth? Can they still get braces? Yes, they can. If your dentist recognizes that your child could benefit from early orthodontic treatment, then it won't matter if they have baby teeth or not.
Orthodontic Treatment Can Begin as Early as Seven
Orthodontists usually recommend that you take your child to see them at the age of seven. Although that might seem young, it does allow the orthodontist to spot problems before they can worsen. At the age of seven, children usually have a mix of both adult and baby teeth. However, this won't interfere with any early orthodontic treatment.
The most important thing to consider at this age is space. If there isn't enough space in your child's mouth to accommodate the incoming adult teeth, their bite could become crowded and their teeth crooked.
Braces Can Correct Jaw Issues
Because children's jaws are still growing while their permanent teeth are coming through, it's important that they grow in sync with each other. Otherwise, your child's bite could become misaligned. For instance, if a child's lower jaw grows faster than the upper jaw, they may develop an underbite, which occurs when the lower teeth are too far ahead of the upper teeth.
If left untreated, your child could have trouble eating and speaking in later childhood. Moreover, their teeth and gums might suffer damage because of their misaligned bite. Fortunately, an orthodontist can spot issues like this early and take action to ensure the other jaw is able to catch up. Having a mixture of baby and adult teeth won't hinder orthodontic treatment at this point.
Braces Can Make Room for Adult Teeth
If overcrowding becomes a problem at an early age due to slow jaw development, braces can help to create space for the incoming adult teeth. Since it is part of the job of baby teeth to guide the adult teeth into position, it is important that they be in the right place to begin with. As such, an orthodontist can use braces to guide baby teeth into their correct position before the adult teeth come in.
If your child needs orthodontic treatment, it doesn't matter if they have baby teeth. What matters is that you treat any problems as early as possible, before they can affect your child's appearance and confidence.
To learn more, contact an early orthodontist.