Braces for a 6 Year Old??

Updated on June 14, 2011
A.J. asks from Medford, OR
24 answers

My daughter's dentists has recommended that we take her to see an orthodontist. She will be 6 in October and has had a pretty significant under bite ever since her teeth came in. When she closes her teeth, her front 6 teeth cover her upper teeth entirely. Has anyone else taken their kid to an orthodontist this young? What did they recommend? How do they handle putting braces on teeth that are starting to come loose anyway?

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So What Happened?

Thank you for sharing your experiences! I am going to take her for a consultation. We received two referrals from her pediatric dentist and I have a third from a co-worker. I need to check on our insurance to see who is a preferred provider. I suspect that they may just advise us to watch and wait because she hasn't even lost her first baby tooth yet.

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answers from New York on

I would go just to hear what he has to say. However, braces befor baby
teeth fall out, not such a good idea.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

My son is 7 and has to see the orthodontist for some spacers b/c his teeth are coming in crooked. Poor kid has inherited my terrible bite!

Every person's mouth is different. I would get a 2nd opinion (just in case)and then follow their recommendations.



answers from Portland on

I had braces in 2nd grade for an underbite and then again in HS to straighten my permanent teeth. If the dentist recommends it, I would definitely follow up.

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answers from Cleveland on

i'm taking my soon to be 8 yo tommorrow just for a free consult, he has a cross bite.
I do happen to think ( no hard evidence just my thoughts) that changing how the jaw works like over bite underbite cross bite is something that could benifit from starting early. buck teeth or crooked teeth i would wait.
still wouldn't hurt to hear what theyhave to say.

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answers from Phoenix on

They won't necessarily start that young. They'll most likely check her out to plan ahead. I had a retainer because of a significant problem at age 8. My daughter had an expander put in first. My other daughter saw the ortho at age 8 and they said they were going to wait and see her in a year when she loses her baby teeth. We haven't taken her back and it's been 2 years. I have two in braces so she has to wait...LOL They'll probably just assess her and see her every year until she's ready for braces. That's my guess.



answers from Portland on

doesn't it seem like kids are getting braces earlier than they used to? i asked our pediatric dentist about this because my daughter's friend got some. he said that it doesn't really get you finished faster, since they do have to wait to see how the permanent teeth come in to finish the job. basically he said that orthodontists are more than happy to start early because it means more money for them because you have to see them longer.

regarding braces, i'm learning now that orthodontists pretty much ignore how having braces affects your jaw socket and spine. ever since i have had braces, i have TMJ/clenching problems and my jaw, neck, and shoulder muscles are overworked so i get headaches. i also have some gum recession because of braces. i just visited with a neurological dentist who recommends going to an ortho who understands this, which is exactly what i will do when/if my kids need braces. i don't want them to suffer this too.

oh, i have to add, definitely get a second opinion. because of movement caused by using a pacifier, the first dentist we went to wanted to fit my 4 year old with a palette stretcher, which is super painful. our current/subsequent pediatric dentist said to hold off and see what happened after her other teeth came in and he said it doesn't look like she'll even need braces!


answers from Eugene on

Usually you wait until they have more teeth. Eight is the youngest I ever took a child to the orthodontist. And, yes I paid for three sets of braces.



answers from Boston on

They anchor the appliances to the molars, which will be in place for many more years. They will probably attempt a palate separator on top, which anchors to the top molars and has a couple of pads the rest against the roof of the mouth, sort of like a bridge. A key is periodically inserted into a spot in the middle of the bridge that pushes the sides apart slightly, widening the roof of the mouth. At the same time, lower braces will be anchored to the bottom molars and those will be joined to the top anchors to pull the bottom jaw backward. The goal will be to spread the top jaw and pull back the bottom so that eventually, the top teeth will close over the bottom teeth. Once that happens, as the bottom jaw grows it will pull the top jaw along with it and things will stay aligned.

My 7 year old will see an orthodontist when he's 7.5 and my 5 year old will also have a consult at about that age. My 7 year old will most likely start the treatment in 6-12 months. I had the same problem and it wasn't addressed until I was in HS and the orthodontics didn't work so I had to have surgery to have my lower jaw reduced in size. Jaw surgery is actually major inpatient surgery (being close to your brain and all...) so I was in the ICU for 2 days and in the hospital for a total of 4 days and had my jaw wired shut for many weeks.

I was surprised when the mentioned the ortho consult at our last cleaning but I learned that when treated at this age, the success rate is much higher than if they wait until the child is older. The total course of treatment should take 12-18 months and permanently correct the misalignment.



answers from Dallas on

I would wait awhile until most fo the adult teeth are in; otherwise you may have the expense of paying for two sets of teeth. One of my children had his braces at about 11 yrs old; it should have only taken about 11 months to straighten his overbite and teeth but it took about 3 years total and cost more than the original fee quoted. My suggestion would be to wait if it is not causeing any other damage to other teeth.



answers from Buffalo on

probably a much different situation, she didn't have an underbite, but my stepdaughter had braces around that age (she was 7 or 8)... her mother insisted that it was the new amazing advancement to do it so young. We were incredibly skeptical, but being the control freak she can be, there was no point in arguing.
So we paid our half and she had these wonderful expensive braces that, as her baby teeth kept falling out, they got weaker and didn't hold up so well. They ended up breaking and falling off... Not sure of the whole story because it seems that her mother tries hard to maintain control over those things and not share many details with my hubby. My step daughter's lived with a few parts still attached to her teeth for years now, because her NEW dentist said that it wasn't a good idea to do braces so young and she will need them again soon (she's 12 now)... so he'll use those few parts on her teeth to build off of.

so basically, it doesn't hurt to go to an appointment for info, and maybe things are even different now, but 5 years ago it was the worst decision ever!!


answers from Provo on

Like the others have said, doubt they will actually do anything now, but as a consult will give you future plans.


answers from Chicago on

My older daughter started with orthodontia at 7. Our ortho was a friend of ours who also has kids, so we trusted his opinion. She had lots of problems with her bite and we did a palate expander and a couple sets of braces and she was all finished with the whole thing by age 14. (She didn't have braces on that whole time, but off and on for short periods. She never had braces on baby teeth. Only adult teeth.) If I were you I'd get a second opinion, but I'd start younger rather than older because things are easier to move then.

I disagree with KM who says it's "silly" to start this young. If we hadn't started at that age with a palate expander for my daughter, it would have been too late and she would have had to have at least 4 adult teeth pulled in order for everything to fit (like her father did many years ago). It's simply not right to say something is silly when clearly it isn't for quite a few people.



answers from Portland on

We started taking my daughter to an ortho @ 4 yrs old a I was completely freakedout. Turns out they just want to watch her teeth until her adult teeth come in and they might have to add hardware to the inside of her top teeth as the adult teeth come in , its not very invasive and actually corrects its self half the time with out hardware and they wont have to do anything. But if you dont do anything about it they will wear down the top teeth and possibly have issues with thier jaw. Good luck mommy!



answers from Portland on

There are things that the orthodontist can do while she's growing to minimize how long she wears braces or maybe avoid them altogether. They can make a long term plan that will amaze you. Braces aren't like they used to be.
Good Luck!



answers from Portland on

Sometimes they need to prep their jaw or teeth by stretching or widening, not necessarily braces yet. I'd take her in and check it out. Better to find out what they can do to be proactive. We just took our 8 year old and were told to wait and see in the next year or so she grows.


answers from Washington DC on

Do it.
They can start early, fix the under bite and then wait on the rest.



answers from Seattle on

Everyone's teeth are different, and everyone will have a different story to tell. Bottom line is this, if your dentist recommends that you take her to see an orthodontist, you probably should do it. I had the same reservations as you did when my son was referred to an orthodontist at the age of 7. I did take him, and we've been going to this orthodontist for 5 years. My son has been in a stage that the orthodontist calls "watchful waiting" because he wanted more permanent teeth to come in before he did anything. He examined my son every year and took full mouth x-rays so that he could monitor his progress and tell when he was ready for treatment.

My son will be getting his braces on July 12th. His mouth looks totally different now than it did when we first started going. When we first started going it appeared that he'd need several teeth pulled and a lot more treatment than he will need. For us, "watchful waiting" turned out to be the right thing.

Like I said before, everyone is different, and treatment plans will vary. Can't hurt to take her in and get an opinion of what needs to be done and when. Ask lots of questions too, and voice your concerns. Pick someone you are comfortable with. You can always get a second opinion too. For what it's worth, if you have insurance, make sure you go with someone who is approved on your plan. Orthodontic treatment isn't cheap.



answers from Chicago on

I don't even know why you dentist would suggest this unless he is getting kick-backs from the ortho. Its silly to have kids that young have braces they don't even have all of their adult teeth.


answers from Biloxi on

I think it more of moving the jaw, rather than straightening the teeth. My son (15) got braces this January, while he has his adult teeth, he also had a bad overbite. So part of the process is actually re-seating his lower jaw with the use of orthodontic appliances. The appliance literally pulled his lower jar forward resulting in his molars not touching..hence the need to also move his teeth - ultimately the jaw will adjust to its new position and the re-positioned teeth will hold it in place.

If I had known how extensive this was going to be - I would have had it done years ago (I just though he had crooked teeth).

So, go have a consult with an orthodontist. It can't hurt to have the consult and if they can begin to correct her bite now, from my experience this year, earlier is much better than later.

Good Luck
God Bless



answers from Fort Wayne on

We were told the same thing and that the younger they are the easier it is to fix the issue. We have yet to do it, but the dentist assured us it is less stressful and will go quicker (and it is easier to maintain). We have decided to wait a year or two more (our daughter is 7).



answers from Boston on

They recommend you go for a consult by age 7 because there are things they can o at a younger age (in some cases) that will lessen the amount of time braces will be needed. My older could have had them put on to bring is top teeth together but he will need a full set later on anyway so we didn't bother. We go once a year until it's time for him to get them on.
From what you describe she has an underbite (bottom teeth cover the top) she may need other devices that may be more beneficial to start now going or a consult can't hurt. Most places I called offer a free consults so it's not like you will be wasting time to get an opinion about it.

Edited: did he say to see one specifically for braces or did he just recommend you see an orthodontist. They do more then just braces :)



answers from Santa Barbara on

It's not silly to start young. Thanks goodness orthodontics have improved with time. My now 17 year old daughter had Phase I at 7 with an expander. The mouth moves so quick when they are young. It would have been a nightmare if I had waited. She was completed with Phase II before she entered high school. I would have done anything for her not to have jacked up teeth going into high school. Her teeth are beautiful!



answers from Oklahoma City on

If her teeth are really that bad it may be that the orthodontist will use a Bionator. It's a device that puts pressure on the lower jaw and cause it to lengthen. I would think whatever the doc wanted me to do would be okay.

List, with pictures, of dental appliances to help you understand.



answers from Seattle on

Hi A.,
We very recently (within the last month) took our 5 (now 6) year old son to the ortho for the same reason. He had a slight underbite which they are correcting with a retainer. The ortho said he prefers to see kids as young as possible for these reasons because it's easier to treat it before it grows more permanent. Our son has been doing great wearing the retainer. It doesn't mean he won't ever need braces but for now his front top teeth just came in too straight and the bottom teeth are forgiving it -thus going over the top-to make it more comfortable in his mouth. The ortho said the treatment really just depends on each child and how well they do wearing the gear. :-)

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