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.


1 mom found this helpful

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Featured Answers

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.


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

More Answers

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.

1 mom found this helpful

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...

1 mom found this helpful


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.

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