19 answers

Orthodontics for 10 Year Old?

Hey moms,

My ten year old son had his routine dental exam yesterday. The dental office recommended an ortho exam for him, but did not give me any specifics why. Last year, we had a different dentist who also referred us. He said that typically every child is referred nowadays for early ortho care. We saw the orthodontist then who said he was fine for the time being but to bring him back in 6 months. When I asked if braces at this age prevented them later on he said no.

I do not understand why they are putting braces on elementary school children. Especially when they "might" have to do it again later. It doesn't make sense to me. Does anyone have any knowledge or experiences with this.

I was blessed with perfectly straight teeth but witnessed my sister's painful braces experience. My son's teeth seemingly look like mine did. I do not want to put him through this twice or once if not necessary. Seems like the ortho just wants to be paid twice.

Please advise so I can meet with the orthodontist as an educated mom on the subject.

C.

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Hi C.,

I would suggest you wait until all his teeth come out, I'm on the same situation with my daughter, she's 11 and they recommend for her to have braces, but her cuspids are barely coming out and she still needs to drop more mollars. Only one dentist has adviced for me to wait until she loses all her baby teeth. I know the pain about braces so I wouldn't want to put her throught it twice. My suggestion is to wait. Hope this helps.

E.

Hi C.,
Here is my experience: When I was in 4th grade I was sent to the orthodontist. My two teeth on either side of my front teeth were coming forward, starting to overlap my front teeth. Braces were put on for two years, then I had a neckbrace that I wore at night, followed by a retainer once the braces were off. The braces came off two weeks before 7th grade...perfect! I religiously wore my retainer, and my teeth have been perfect since. So yes, children do get braces on in grade school (and this was 30 years ago for me). When I got them on in 4th grade, I was the only one who had them so the novelty was pretty cool. At least I thought so. My girlfriend had braces put on as a junior in highschool. Not so fun. You need to determine exactly why they feel braces are needed. For me, it was a very specific reason. Best of luck! Lisa

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I don't have a real answer for you, but I was an ortho assistant 20 years ago. Prior to working there, my little (very little, 8 year old cousin got braces) I was 14 at the time. I had some very jacked up teeth. I ended up going to my cousin's ortho with her and got braces. I had them for four years. She ended up with phase 2 as they called it. I went to work with the ortho who did our teeth and still never understood the point of Phase 1 and phase 2. I just had one general phase so to speak. I thought it was silly as well. My neice now has braces as well, she too was 14 when she got them on.
I don't want to lead you down the wrong path, but I would certainly press on to find out exactly what the point of phase 1 at an early age is for.
Here are some Q & A pertaining to this on our dentists website.
http://www.greatsmiles.org/early_o.asp

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I was a product of very young orthodontics... I don't think it was a bad experience, but by the time I was in high school and still had braces, I was sick of them. I was 7 or 8 when I got my first few brackets on, and used a headgear to help align my jaw for the first year or so. I was 15 when everything came off, and wore a top jaw retainer for 10 years and a bottom jaw semi-permanent retainer for 5 years. I now have a nice set of straight teeth on top but my bottom jaw front teeth got messed up after the retainer came off.

I don't think the age has much to do with anything, but I do think that having the braces earlier is easier for the sake of getting it over with. It may be tough if you have a child who doesn't follow instructions, because if rubber bands are necessary, not using them consistently can delay removal of the braces. Not properly brushing and flossing teeth is a huge problem as well. Losing retainers will probably happen more in younger children, which will cost lots of money for mom and dad! I broke one and it cost $150 for a replacement at the time... nearly 20 years ago!

Best of luck with your decision!

1 mom found this helpful

My 11 year old daughter's pediatric dentist told me she does not recommend orthodontics/braces for young children because of the fact that she would probably need braces again once all the permanent teeth come in. Possibly some of these dentists are recommending braces early because they do them "in house". Unfortunately, many (possibly most?) dental offices these days (as well as veterinarians, plumbers, etc.) make their money through high pressure sales ..... braces today, and braces again in 5 years = good $$$$ for them! I would get the opinion of a dentist who does not offer orthodonists.

Another thing to consider is the additional attention to hygiene needed once your child gets braces. A 10 year old might not be mature enough to handle this and might end up with cavities...

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C.,

I would take your son to another orthodontist for a consultation. It is very odd to me that kids our getting braces at such a young age. My cousin just got his taken off after 5 years of wearing them (he's now 15, almost 16), and now has retainers. I had braces and so did my sister, but got mine when I was 13 and taken off when I was 15. And, my sister only needed braces on the top and not the bottom. So, it seems like it braces are used as a preventitive measure now and not just to correct the issues that need correcting...

In cases like this I would say to get a second opinion, and see if this might be a case of braces for the sake of braces or if you son really needs them.

Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful

My dentists recommended two orthodontists to choose from for my two daughters who were 12 and 13 at the time. It was pretty obvious early on that they were eventually going to need braces. It will be two years this summer that they’ve had them. Even after skipping a few months of ortho care, Dr. Hyman checked my daughters to see if the amount of time was going to be extended and if more money was involved. I’m happy to say we were able to stay on track and not pay more money. I’ve been very happy with this orthodontist and so have others that I know who have also used him. I also have two boys, ages 9 and 10. My 9 year old is an extreme severe case and my 10 year old has very nice teeth and my dentist has not recommended the orthodontist for him. We as the advocates for our children still ultimately know best, meaning, go with your gut feeling and continue to do your research and get your second opinions. You still have the last decision for your child. If you decide to take him, just for a consultation, Dr. Hyman is out of Montebello and his number is ###-###-####. www.hymanortho.com. If he’s too far for you, try calling to see if he can recommend someone else for you. He might have a colleague who he can recommend. That’s worked for me in the pass.

Hi C.:

My older son had an under bite that is correctable while certain parts of the skull/head are still growing. We put him in braces for 10 months when he was only 7 years old and I went for not only second opinions, but fourth and fifth as well.

At the younger age, it's more to correct the facial and mouth, where as when they get older it's more about correcting teeth. I also had perfectly straight teeth and no one in my family needed braces, so this was all new to me. There is an excellent book called The Teething Guide by Kathy Arnos that covers why this is happening with more kids today. It's mainly nutritional. I changed our eating habits with our second child (he was only 4 when his brother needed braces) and knock on wood everything is sound. BTW, my older son is now 11 and does not need braces the second time around. His teeth came in straight - again it's kind of like two separate issues.

That seems a young age to me as well. I started wearing braces at age 12 and got them off at age 17. My teeth were really crooked and bite was bad, so it took a long time to correct. Then as an adult I had them for about two years (yes a second set of braces, due to my bite shifting). My first set of braces were paid for by my parents and I paid for the second set after I had been working awhile. In my case, I used the same orthodontist and got a little bit of a discount on the second treatment. Yes, many people do have to have a second set of braces due to various issues. One thing to always be careful of when you see an orthodontist is to ask about the roots of the teeth. If the person has short roots, the treatment should be done as soon as possible, so you don't risk loss of the entire tooth. This is where I am now. The dentist told me that if my teeth do fall out that I will need partials or dentures but that is another story. Best of luck in whatever you decide.

The age to start orthodontics depends on what the problems are. Sometimes early intervention is vital, sometimes waiting until they are older is the answer. My son had a big overbite and was evaluated by an ortho at age 12; he wanted to wait until my son was 15 or 16 to let his lower jaw get it's full growth. When he got braces at 15 the jaw growth had naturally corrected about half the overbite problem and he was in braces for about 10 months. Oh --- one ortho told us he should be in head gear, etc. and it would be a 3 year process. We just didn't feel the problem was THAT serious and got a second opinion.

C., Im not sure where you live, but I live in Mission Viejo and have a FABULOUS Orthodontist in Lake Forest. Its Batesole Orthodontics located on the corner of Muirlands and Ridge Route. After going to 2 other Ortho's I chose this one. The staff is WONDERFUL and so is he. Their office is very open and not closed off.
My son is 8 and started his braces about 4 months ago. Its best to start them while their teeth are still moving instead of waiting. It is a little painful, but not that bad. I too had braces when I was in middle school. I dont recall mine being so terrible. My son has only complained a few times.
If youd like thier number, please let me know and Ill give it to you.
Good luck!

I have two sons. My older son could have gotten braces, but the orthodontist told me that he really didn't need them, that the improvement would be minimal. My younger son got braces at 11. He needed them to make space for a tooth that needed to come in, in addition to improving his bite and straightening his teeth.
Kids need braces for different reasons. Sometimes the orthodonitst wants to wait for all the permanent teeth to come in, so those kids get their braces later. Sometimes kids need their palet spread apart, and this is usually done at an earlier age. Sometimes they need to have a spacer put in, to keep the space open for a tooth that hasn't descended yet. The orthodontist you took your son to looked at your son's teeth/bite and said that he didn't need braces yet. It sounds to me like he's not rushing things, but wants to wait until it's the best time for your son. I don't know anyone who got braces in elementary school, got them off, and then had them put back on again.
Best of luck to you and your son. Linda

I'm assuming they want to lessen the time he has to spend in braces/appliances. If they move his teeth around now and get them into place he may not need braces, or not for long, in the future.

I'm speaking from personal experience. I started ortho visits when I was 8. I think I had my first oral surgery when I was like 10 (my teeth are too big for my jaw). I had a few appliances over the years to space out my teeth properly. Consequently, I only had braces for like a year and a half in high school. My husband didn't do ortho visits young, he was in braces for 4 years, and his teeth are still crooked.

My sister-in-law has expierenced this with both of her girls. The said early braces helped straighten their jaws, that way when the baby teeth finish falling out the rest of the mouth is in line for the perment teeth. One daughter didn't have to have braces again and her teeth look wonderful(she is only 15) the other one will have to have them again, but she shouldn't have to wear them as long(she is going on 13). Remember when they are young their mouths are still forming, and growing- which makes its easier for their teeth to be moved, as we get older are bones aren't as soft, and from what I am told it can makes braces at an older age hurt more. I would find an ortho and continue to consult with them. My childrens dentist says they don't need anything yet(ages 11,9) which leaves me wondering because their teeth are really crowded and I know they wont have room for their perment teeth when thye start to come in. I haven't consulted an ortho for a few years, I think its time to get a second opinion. That the beauty of this world, second opinions can be a great thing.
Good Luck!!

Hi C.,
Here is my experience: When I was in 4th grade I was sent to the orthodontist. My two teeth on either side of my front teeth were coming forward, starting to overlap my front teeth. Braces were put on for two years, then I had a neckbrace that I wore at night, followed by a retainer once the braces were off. The braces came off two weeks before 7th grade...perfect! I religiously wore my retainer, and my teeth have been perfect since. So yes, children do get braces on in grade school (and this was 30 years ago for me). When I got them on in 4th grade, I was the only one who had them so the novelty was pretty cool. At least I thought so. My girlfriend had braces put on as a junior in highschool. Not so fun. You need to determine exactly why they feel braces are needed. For me, it was a very specific reason. Best of luck! Lisa

Good morning, C.. I had 2 sons go through ortho and I felt the same way because they both were treated with 2 phases of "braces". I now understand that it's vitally important to do it this way to avoid orthodontic surgery when they are in their teens. The first "phase" can begin anywhere between age 9-12, which is during their growth time. The first phase is basically assisting that growth so there is more jaw room for all the adult teeth to come in with as much room as possible(usually with expanders), then the 2nd phase is mainly alignment and straightening of all the teeth. I was fortunate to have a GREAT orthodontist who explained things in terms anyone could understand. Phase 2 ortho usually does not require the loss of any adult teeth, except of course the wisdom teeth later on. I don't know where you live, but my sons were treated by Dr. Michael Burke in Temecula and he offers free consultations if you're interested.

Hi C.,
My 8 year old was seen by two different orthodontists when he was about 5 because he has a significant underbite and is also a teeth grinder. They both said to bring him back after he'd lost some teeth. There was one other that is supposed to be the best that we were going to consult with but held off until a couple of months ago. We took him then because after going to Stanford for a sleep study (showing he had significant apnea) the doctor there said he had a narrow palate space and could benefit from a rapid palate expander to open his nasal airway. So we went to the last guy in October after a friend said her son had this treatment and said we the "window" closes on certain procedures because of bone growth. . . Sure enough, the 3rd ortho said we should've been in when he was 4! When we took him in when he was 5, we were only concerned about the underbite, so maybe that was all they were looking at, but now my poor kid has this enormous appliance and a face mask that makes him look like Hannibal Lecter Jr.! We predict he'll probably have to have braces somewher down the line for cosmetic purposes, but this is one case where early orhtodontics is about his health. So, basically, his treatment now will bring his upper jaw forward and outward so that the upper teeth just over extend the bottom teeth. It's a little tough on him but he's being a good sport. Do get a second, or third opinion though!
Best of luck!

You need to find out what the purpose is. I agree that sometimes it isn't necessary, but sometimes it is. My oldest had molars coming in at an angle and knocking out baby molars before they were supposed to come out. There wasn't enough room in her mouth. She had to have phase one simple to get the teeth where they needed to be and then put spacers to hold the space open for the adult molars to come in much later. My son also didn't have enough room as his palate wasn't wide enough. He had to have a palate widener (not as bad as it sounds) to expand the top palate and make room. Neither of these procedures really prevent you from needing them again when all the teeth are in. They just help make room so that hopefully the 2nd phase will be easier & quicker. But, I think some orthos just want to do 2 phases routinely. So find out what they think will be accomplished and what will happen if you don't do it. And, then make your decision.

I have amazing and wonderful teeth.... due to five years of rigorous orthodonics. I started in the fourth grade (so I was ten as well) and didn't get them off until high school. It was absolutely hands-down one of the best things my parents could have done for me. I am so grateful! I had to be good about wearing my retainer in the high school years, but it was worth it!!!! I never had to have them on again, I'm not quite sure why you feel like this is a sure thing.

Both of my children have had to have braces. Now day’s braces are used to do more than just straighten teeth. They also correct a person’s bite and my be necessary at a younger age to enlarge the bone structure of the mouth as the child grows. Correcting a bite makes the face look better, but more importantly, reduces wear and decay of the teeth as we age. A really bad bite can become a source of significant pain as we get older. Enlarging the mouth allows for teeth to grow in straight, with enough room for all the teeth, and eliminating the need for extractions. Or at least to reduce the need for these things. Getting braces early should mean that the latter treatment, if necessary, is more successful, less invasive, and should take less time. The orthodontist you choose should be able to give you an overall description of your son’s problems and future concerns. The prognosis should include why the procedures are necessary and justification for the over all cost. He should be able to explain his game plan. You should choose an orthodontist which you can talk to openly and receive answers that you fully understand.
If you don’t feel the orthodontists that you have seen are doing this send me a message and I will send you information on mine.

Hi C.,

I would suggest you wait until all his teeth come out, I'm on the same situation with my daughter, she's 11 and they recommend for her to have braces, but her cuspids are barely coming out and she still needs to drop more mollars. Only one dentist has adviced for me to wait until she loses all her baby teeth. I know the pain about braces so I wouldn't want to put her throught it twice. My suggestion is to wait. Hope this helps.

E.

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