Does my kid need braces?

Braces. The word either inspires hope in a child that their teenage years are upon them, or fear because they believe it’s the end of their budding social career.

For parents, the decision is always a tough one. Braces can be an expensive solution so making the call to get them is one wrought with hand-wringing. For today’s blog entry we are going to discuss the warning signs and timeline for answering the question, does my kid need braces?

kids with braces smiling


During your childs dental visit, a pediatric dentist will evaluate your child for orthodontic treatment and let you know when a good idea to visit an orthodontist would be. There are times when early intervention is necessary and the child should be sent by the age of 7 years. Some orthodontist’s will recommend a course of treatment while the primary teeth are still in place in order to shorten the length dental braces are needed to align the adult teeth.

However, many times the child can wait until most of their permanent teeth have erupted, and the majority of their adult teeth have grown in. This can be anywhere between the ages of 8 and 14.

The answer varies, so consulting closely with your pediatric dentist is paramount in this situation.


There can be a number of reasons why a child may need braces. Malocclusion, where there is a difference in size between the top and bottom jaw, is a common reason. This is the reason you see overbite (when the upper jaw is bigger) and underbite (when the lower jaw is bigger).

Other problems can arise due to tooth decay, losing primary teeth too early, or thumbsucking. More often though these types of issues are inherited, so if you or someone in your family needed braces, it’s very likely they will too.

Braces come in all types, and aren’t limited to the metal type you’re used to seeing. In the last ten to fifteen years, we’ve seen clear and ceramic braces become more prominent due to their more discrete appearance. There are even braces that go behind teeth, called lingual braces.

The average length of time needed for braces to have their desired effect is around two years. Afterward, a retainer is commonly needed to help keep teeth in their new position.

While wearing them, it is incredibly important to be diligent with brushing and flossing. After every meal, both should become standard procedure to avoid permanent staining and cavity formation.