How your child’s teeth develop.

Parents are often concerned about when to start bringing their children to the dentist and if there anything that they should be looking out for. Last month we discussed how the baby teeth develop; today we’ll look at the adult teeth and when a child needs braces.

Child's teeth
5-6 years

Around this age the lower front adult teeth start coming through. If no adult teeth are through after the age of 8 years then your dentist will probably want to investigate the reason why. Similarly if an adult tooth comes through and the same tooth on the other side hasn’t appeared after 6-9 months then it should be checked out. Sometimes adult teeth start to come through when the baby teeth are still present. This normally does not cause any problems and the baby teeth fall out eventually themselves. Everyone is aware that decay in adult teeth should be avoided by good diet, low amounts of refi ned sugar in the diet, and good tooth brushing. Prevention of decay in baby teeth is also important as losing baby teeth early can lead to lack of space in the mouth for adult teeth and commit the child to a course of orthodontic treatment.

9-10 years

At the age of about 9 years the dentist will start checking the position of the upper adult eye teeth. If they have moved out of line your dentist will discuss ways of encouraging these teeth into the correct position and whether your child my need orthodontic treatment.

11-13 years

During the period of leaving primary school and settling into secondary education your child will through a period of losing the last of their baby teeth and getting the rest of their adult teeth. This is a good time to consider braces as your dentist will have a good idea what the final position of the adult teeth will be.

Why have braces?

The purpose of a brace is to straighten teeth and correct a poor bite, allowing easier cleaning of teeth and gums and also importantly have a more confident smile. In complex cases, braces also can reposition teeth to allow placement of dental implants, crowns and veneers

What age would I start?
Girl with braces

Braces usually are fitted to children who need them about the age of 12-13 years when most, if not all, of the adult teeth are through. Treatment usually lasts 18-24 months and nearly all treatments require the patient to wear a retainer for a period of time after the brace comes off . Most importantly it is essential to bring your child to the dentist at regular intervals not only to make sure that the teeth are decay free but that the teeth are erupting properly giving your child the best possible chance of a happy confi dent smile. So if you think your child need braces, to correct a major or even a minor problem, ask your dentist’s advice and get referred to an orthodontist.