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What is the right age for Dental Braces? – Dr. Nandini Nelivigi

Usually the first permanent tooth to erupt in the oral cavity is about 6 years of age. So the first or the right time for you to get your child to an orthodontist is about 7 years of age. By 7 years of age, some permanent teeth would have erupted into the oral cavity and that is when your orthodontist can gauge whether your child needs an intervention or not. Many instances when we have to do an orthodontic treatment, much earlier in say about 7 years is one, is of you have anterior cross bite, that is if your upper front teeth are behind the lower front teeth. In these situations the lower teeth will not allow the upper teeth or the maxillary teeth to grow enough. When this happens, some kind of a deficiency in the maximally arch or the upper arch can be seen at a later date. So we ne d to push the upper anterior out of crossbite. Situation two, is when you see a V-shaped arch or a constricted upper arch or a reduced intercanine width. Even then the upper arch doesn’t allow the lower arch to express itself completely. So even in these situations at a later date, the child may be seen with some kind of a mandibular deficiency. So if you don’t want this to happen, then we have to expand the upper arch and this can be done only at this earlier stage. Situation three, is when you have a thumb sucking or a digit sucking habit. Usually a thumb sucking or a digit sucking habit is acceptable as long as the child is on a primary dentition but once the permanent teeth is started erupting into the horal cavity of the child does not get rid of this digit sucking habit, then there can be various deleterious effects seen on the malocclusion. So if you do not want such a deleterious effect coming on the dentition, or we have to do some kind of treatment to get the child off this habit and situation number 4, if one of the parent has any kind of jaw deficiency, like the maxillary jaw being deficient or the mandibular jaw being deficient or excess, it could also be seen in the chid because these are inherited characteristics. Orthodontist will be the right person who can gauge whether your child has such an inherited malocclusion from you and tell you whether it needs to be corrected. If it needs to be corrected, it can be again done at this age because in all these situations, we are using the growth potential of the individual , we are trying to correct anything when the chid is growing and if it needs to be done, ti again needs to be done at this age because in all these situations, we are utilising the growth potential of the individual. We are trying to correct everything when the child is growing and when you come back to us when the child is about 15 or 16 years of age, then the growth is complete. Then we cannot do anything about it. There are only two ways that we can correct it then. Either we have to camouflage it and be happy with it or we have to subject the patients to surgery. So if toy don’t want to increase the severity of the malocclusion, or cause major other complication because of that, you haver to consult an orthodontist at 7 years of age. So that would be the right time and the orthodontist will tell you whether a treatment is required or not. If not, it can be done at a later date.

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