Orthodontics for Children and Teenagers

young girl with colored orthodontic applianceOrthodontic treatment is now seen as a standard part of growing up for children and teenagers in the UK. As parents, we all want the very best for our children, and to protect them from unnecessary suffering and discomfort. That’s why, at Weybridge Orthodontics, it is recommended that children have an early orthodontic assessment sometime between the ages of seven and nine.

Traditional dental braces are usually fitted once most of the baby teeth have been lost and the adult teeth have started to emerge. This is commonly between the ages of nine and 14, but the best time for any child to have braces depends on the type and severity of any tooth misalignment.

In some cases, your child’s orthodontist may recommend an interceptive approach to orthodontics. This means using dental appliances – which needn’t always be fixed in place – while the child still has some baby teeth in situ. This early intervention approach has numerous benefits, which include:

The ability to correct habits such as thumb sucking or tongue pushing, which can affect adult tooth development

  • A better prognosis for how the permanent teeth will develop
  • Fixing problems such as cross bite or over bite
  • Guiding the jaw’s growth so that all emerging teeth are accommodated properly and comfortably
  • Reducing the risk of damage to any protruding teeth
  • Alleviating future, and possibly more invasive, dental correction
  • Increasing self-confidence in your child

Once your child’s adult teeth have come through, a second phase of treatment will be initiated. In the vast majority of cases this will involve the use of traditional braces to move these teeth into their permanent positions.

For children who are self-conscious about wearing metal braces, or who have not qualified for NHS orthodontic treatment but would still enjoy the benefits of milder correction, there are also a number of discreet tooth straightening options available.

These include teen-specific appliances, such as the clear and removable Invisalign Teen, as well as tooth-coloured versions of more traditional brace systems.

At the end of treatment it will be necessary for your child to wear a retainer for the prescribed period, to keep the teeth where they should be, and to minimise the risk of adult relapse later in life.