Back when braces weren’t considered a rite of passage for American youth, kids who wore braces were teased by their peers with mean-spirited nicknames such as brace face, tinsel teeth, zipper lips and metal mouth. Hopefully, with so many children in need of corrective care, this is no longer the case. Studies have estimated anywhere from 50-70 percent of American children will wear braces between the ages of 6-18.
Children from ages 6-18 (and even some adults) typically get braces to correct malocclusions (i.e., bad bites). These jaw or tooth alignment problems are usually genetic, but can result from an injury, early or late tooth loss or thumb-sucking. Historically, most children started wearing braces in their early- and into mid-adolescent years, after all of their permanent teeth had erupted (ages 11-15).In more recent years, there has been a trend towards earlier intervention to take advantage of high rates of growth and to correct certain conditions that might otherwise adversely affect growth and development. Crowded, poorly-positioned teeth not only affect a child’s appearance, but can negatively impact the way a child bites, chews and speaks, and can increase the long-term potential for developing periodontal disease or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems.
Watch the video above to learn how you can tell if your child will benefit from braces.