Braces: Starting Early Is Not Always The Best Option!

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Parents nowadays want the best for their kids, and this mindset of “start early, end early” is understandable but it is not always correct. There are situations where this mindset applies, but others are better delayed. Beyond trusting their instincts to achieve the best for their kids, parents should be educated to know which situations calls for early or delayed intervention.

Underbite

This is a condition of the upper jaw being too small, the lower jaw being too large or the combination of both. It gives the lower jaw a protruding nature, hence sometimes giving kids a crescent-like face. This can cause discomfort while chewing and speaking. It may even lead to jaw strain or gum disease in serious cases. Studies show that for cases of having an underbite, 75 percent of children will find early intervention advantageous.

In fact, Doctor Michael B. Rogers, D.D.S, president of American Association of Orthodontists stated that prolonging treatment of an underbite for too long might raise a need for surgery in the future. Dr. William Proffit, a professor at the University of North Carolina’s School of Dentistry also supported early intervention: “You’re trying to change growth and your window of opportunity has run out by age 10. The ideal time to start would be as early as age 7.”

Overbite

For an overbite, also widely known less euphemistically as “buck teeth”, the more common recommendation is to wait it out. This condition indeed has its own detestable risks: uncomfortable gum cuts, tooth decay in difficult-to-reach spots or tooth fracture. However, according to Full Smile Orthodontists, if a child with an overbite gets braces too young, they’ll have these braces for a longer period of time. Not only this, but this early dental treatment is anything but cheap.

With early intervention, you are going to make more frequent dental visits and suffer cumulative dental bills. Even Dr. Proffit had stated that there is no gain in early intervention for this case. However, if you are really that urgent, and if your child finds the teasing in school too intolerable, it won’t do much harm in terms of dental aspect. Ultimately, the right age of getting braces for the case of having an overbite depends on a case-by-case basis, and it varies with every child, but the overarching advice among most dentists and orthodontists is that waiting it out would be more prudent.

Crooked teeth

This is the most common dental issue among young children. Also known as Class I malocclusion, crooked teeth doesn’t really need early intervention either. Again, there is nothing risky or dangerous about early intervention but there is an unnecessary, extra load of burden. Your child’s teeth are not even permanent yet. Your child might wind up requiring another round of treatment a few years later.

At this point, the idea of early intervention is already questionable because it renders the approach redundant and the first round of treatment a little bit pointless but it gets worse when, by the words of Antonino Secchi, a professor of orthodontics at the University of Pennsylvania, “Instead of paying one bill, you pay two bills.” It is one thing to be pointless, but another more ridiculous decision to be pointless expensively. But since dental issues cannot be dealt with generally but specifically, heed the advice of your dentist for what is for your child. This judgment again is general and more widespread, but there are indeed various exceptions.

All in all, it doesn’t help to jump into action hastily without enough research or knowledge. Instead of being frantic and wanting to get the dental problems “over and done with”, parents should slow down and be inclined to have a better understanding of what is really best for their child.

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