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How Young is Too Young for Braces?

teeth braces, orthodontics

How young is too young for braces?

When a dentist recommended that my daughter get a tooth crowned — she was 5 at the time — my first thought was “why? It’s a baby tooth.” I mentioned it and Googled it and the consensus seemed to be that it protected damage to the permanent tooth that would eventually replace it. Okay, makes sense.

I have not been so easily convinced when dentists started talking braces for my girl. She’s 9 now. Were she to get braces, she would not be the youngest person I know who has them. Braces for pre-tweens — that’s “tweens” with a W — are really common. Much to my relief, according to this report on NPR this morning, teeth braces on baby teeth are a bit too common.

When to get braces should be decided on a case-by-case basis. But Robert Williams, a board certified orthodontist who teaches at the University of Maryland, says repeated studies show that for certain corrections, it’s better to wait until all the permanent teeth have come in.

One reason is that changes made in the mouth are rarely permanent. Expanded roofs and straightened teeth tend to go back to their original shape once treatment is over. So often, instead of paying for two years of orthodontia, parents will pay for a total of four years — two, two-year treatments.

Common problems that are often better to wait before treating: overjets and teeth straightening.

Anybody take the plunge and put braces on baby teeth?

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