Braces - What Age Is Right?

Updated on July 28, 2012
T.B. asks from Newton, IA
40 answers

My daughter is 11 and thinks her teeth are just terrible and thinks she needs braces. If you compare her 5th grade picture with my 5th grade picture, our teeth are exactly the same. I will admit my teeth were pretty jacked up then but who's weren't. I never had braces and my teeth are completely straight. I told her that we would wait until the summer after her 6th grade year and then decide from there. (give it more time to straighten out by themselves).

Today, she had a regular checkup at the dentist (my husband took her) and the dentist proceeds to tell her that "she is an orthodontist's dream). He said she will need major work to get her teeth straight. WHAT???

I think that 11 years old is way too young. She still has a mouthful of baby teeth for christs sake. He even pulled two of her baby teeth to make room for her big teeth and said they may have to pull up to 4 more.

I just think this is way out of line. If I would have brought her I don't think I would have let them pull her teeth, I sometimes feel that they do this for $ and don't really need to.

Now she is even more adamant about getting them and I think its just nuts.

What are your thoughts.

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So What Happened?

Wow... thanks for all the responses. I think I am going to take her to a couple orthodondists and see what they say. I will keep you posted!

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answers from Santa Barbara on

I loved the beauty of an expander and early orthodontics!! It was so much easier than when I had it all through high school. I felt I owed her the treatment that was easiest on us.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

My daughter was younger than that when she had her referral to the orthodontist. She had consultations for a couple years before she actually had her braces put on. They do braces younger now than when I was a kid. My daughter had to have a couple pulled and the last one finally came in about a 1 1/2 years into having braces.

She had them put on at 12 and taken off this spring at 14. Personally, younger is easier. They are more likely to wear the bands, brush them often, avoid the "bad" foods and wear headgear (fortunately she didn't). It was still cool because her classmates had them too. She was never teased.

I would go to a consultation or two (should be free until you actually put them on).

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answers from St. Louis on

My daughter is 12 and she has had her's on now for about 6 months. They can tell in the xrays how the adult teeth are going to come in and adjust things to make room for them so they come in correctly. This is what they are doing with my daughter. She had to get a few baby teeth pulled before they were put on as well. I am so glad she has hers on now, that way they will be off before she starts high school.

Get a second opinion but, if she needs them........the sooner the better!

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answers from Pocatello on

nope not too young. Actually the older you are the more set your teeth can get and the harder it is to move them. You say your teeth are straight right now without braces? Consider yourself extremely lucky! That almost never, ever happens. I was a dental assistant and worked for an orthodontist before becoming a stay at home mom. So I'll tell you that we have lots of kids around that age in braces. And to be honest even if her teeth aren't that bad, what about her bite? Her jaw? These are things people don't even think about or know what to look for if you haven't been to dental school. If the dentist says she needs braces I'm sure she does. And the dentist won't get money for her braces the orthodontist does so I don't think he's trying to scam you. And if she wants braces that's great! She will take care of them, clean her teeth well and wear the right bands, head gear or whatever she many need to help her get in and out of braces fast. Do you daughter a favor!!! Get her the beautiful smile she deserves!!!!!

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answers from Washington DC on

Shop for an orthodontist rather than getting angry at the dentist. And your daughter's input here does matter, doesn't it? She is at an age where she is going to be only more sensitive about her looks -- not less sensitive.

Many kids now get orthodontics way before 11. This is because by 11 or 12 their mouths and skulls are well on the way to being formed and "set," especially girls, who mature and stop growing younger than boys.

It is easier on the child to start the process in stages when the child is younger. If the roof of the mouth (palate) needs expanding, for instance, because it's too small, it is MUCH easier to insert a palate expander and stretch that palate earlier than later. I have known kids as young as second and third graders with palate expanders, then they moved into "phase one" braces as needed (often just for the top front teeth only), then had a year or even more "off" braces before a second phase of more extensive braces. This is done so that things can be fixed at the right times - instead of all at once, with greater pain for the kid. This was my daughter's pattern -- palate expander in third grade, stage one braces in third-fourth grade, currently no braces but they're coming back, possibly this school year (sixth).

If your daughter is 11 and still has a mouth full of baby teeth she may indeed need more pulled. My daughter is 11 and had two baby molars pulled two weeks ago. They were firm and going nowhere but the permanent teeth were entirely ready to descend and did so right away -- two weeks later the holes are nearly filled, because the permanent teeth were so ready to come in. It's important to get "stuck" baby teeth out of the way if needed so that adult teeth can descend. It's not at all unusual for these stuck teeth to get pulled.

I got braces at about 12 and it was painful. Starting earlier and going in stages -- instead of one massive, every-tooth, full-metal-jacket set of braces at an older age -- surely saves kids physical pain and spreads out your costs too, possibly.

Why the resistance? You're waiting for her teeth to "straighten out by themselves" but they aren't necessarily going to do that.

See an orthodontist, actually see several and compare what they say and what their treatment plans would be. Don't go just by what a dentist said; go to the experts. Some will be more aggressive about braces and pulling teeth, others less aggressive. Find one you can work with. But waiting and waiting won't gain you anything if she truly needs braces. I know kids who are 11 and 12 and 13 and their teeth are a mess and not on the road to "straightening themselves out," and when I see them I wonder why their folks haven't looked into orthodontics.

By the way, this is not all cosmetic or about her looks -- you get that, don't you? If there are issues with a bite problem, where her teeth and jaw don't align properly, she would have a lifetime of other dental issues if it's not fixed.

No, I'm not an orthodontist or married to one! But I do think it's worth doing when it's needed.

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answers from San Francisco on

Ditto Jo W, and I will add that what your dentist said is probably true. I mean, what's in it for him to lie? It's not like he's going to make any money off of it.
Until your daughter sees an orthodontist you really have no idea what she needs. Get some referrals and get more than one opinion. She may need a spacer or expander first, and if you wait too long the problem could get worse and more expensive. My daughter needed an expander when she was ten because her teeth were spaced so close together that it was affecting the coming in of her adult teeth. This was NOT visible to the naked eye, she looked just fine. But because it was caught early on by my dentist she may now not need braces at all, and if she does they won't be on very long, no more than a year.
Don't do it because your daughter wants it, but for sure do it if it's necessary! There's nothing more unattractive than a mouth full of f'd up teeth :(

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answers from Norfolk on

This is going to vary for everyone.
Everyone's mouth is different.
I started braces in the 5th grade (my teeth were every where - I had a gap between my front teeth that I could fit my thumb through), had them through 11th grade and they had to pull 8 adult teeth (wisdom and bicuspids) to get everything to fit in my mouth.
When we took our son to the dentist when he was in 2nd grade and I saw his panoramic xray - his mouth looked like a traffic jam - all these teeth forming with no room for them to come down.
He was always on the early side with his teeth - first to get them, first to lose them.
His 12 yr old molars came out when he was 9.
In the 4th grade he started with an expander, then he had braces for 5th and 6th grade.
The expander gave him all the room he needed in his jaws and with that room it was fairly trivial to get everything to line up nice and straight.
I'm so glad his braces were over in 2 years compared to what I went through for 7 years.
He's finished with them before he's out of middle school!
When they are young and their pallet (roof of the mouth) is still soft (it hasn't calcified yet), the expander can shape the jaw bones as they are growing and it's fairly painless.
If you wait until the pallet is hardened - it's much more painful to move the teeth and you've missed the window of opportunity to shape the jaws.
If you get the teeth straight early - you set them up for dental health for the rest of their lives.
You don't want to skimp when it comes to taking care of something so important.
Take her to an orthodontist now.

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answers from Seattle on

She wants them and your dentist is indicating she needs them. The next step is to take her to the orthodontist and see what she recommends. Although the "right" age varies, chances are pretty good that she'll need them now.

And, fwiw, I got mine on in 3rd grade and had them removed by 6th grade. That would be on at 8 or 9 years of age and off (done!) by 11 or 12yo. And I'm old, so this was a long time ago.

Get them done now (if that's your orthodontist's recommendation). Particularly if your daughter is really self conscious about her teeth.

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answers from Washington DC on

ETA: it is MUCH easier to expand mouths while they are still growing and it doesn't hurt as much as it would if you waited until she's a teenager. yeah - braces have come a long way - but still - my son's jaw was fixed while he was growing (it was short - so an expander was put in and helped push the jaw out WHILE he was growing).

My son was 9 when he got his first set of braces on. His teeth were pretty messed up. He had them off when he was 10.5...yes. We know a second set is necessary. However - I can tell you that from the panoramic that was done BEFORE he had braces and the one that was just done in April from the dentist - it helped A LOT in the way his teeth are coming in!!!

I think it's wrong that the dentist said she was an "orthodontist's dream" in front of her. Not only does that make her MORE self-conscious of her teeth - it gives her credence for her desires.

I would go to two or three orthodontists that come highly recommended - use Angie's List if you have to - or talk to parents at your kids school who have had braces to see who they used....

Then make a decision after you weigh in all of the opinions from the ortho's. DO NOT tell them you have seen anyone else. Tell them you would like their opinion on her teeth.

My 10 year will be getting braces later this year. Our ortho wanted to wait until two more teeth came out.


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answers from Dallas on

This article is a few years old, but it still gives good info about the specific issues that are best to treat earlier in age. (Basically, protruding teeth, or an underbite.) Other then that, you'll probably save yourself some money getting them a little older. Understand, it's not common at all for pretty crowded, overlapping and crooked teeth to correct themselves. Underbite and overbites simply don't correct themselves. If she has an underbite (or protruding), she probably should get started soon. I understand why she is so eager. I had terrible teeth growing up. I wanted braces so very badly. My parents never could afford it. Neither could I, until I was an adult. I got them off about 5 years ago. I can't tell you what my teeth being fixed has done for me. I REALLY think my high school years, I would have been happier and more confident, had my teeth been fixed. Just don't make her wait too long, mom.

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answers from Tulsa on

For your daughter's sake, get the braces earlier rather than later! I had to have 9 baby teeth pulled when I was about 12 because they didn't come out and the adult teeth came out around them. When I got braces, I started out with a palate expander at 16. Talk about torture! Braces went on about 10 months later and were on for almost 4 years. I even had to have an adult tooth pulled to make room. It was so difficult to straighten out my teeth. If we had started when I was younger, the baby teeth would have been pulled much sooner and would have made the whole process much easier. You were VERY lucky that your teeth straightened out on their own. Trust me, that is not the norm at all.

ETA: If you have a college of dentistry near you, you can get most/if not all of the work done at a fraction of the cost than a normal orthodontist. We used the University of TN Memphis campus and paid a flat fee up front that covered all care except any surgical procedures necessary. I had my wisdom teeth removed (impacted, so was put completely under as out patient) while I had the expander in, so that was an extra cost, but overall, the price was very reasonable. All work is overseen by a professor, so the work done is very good.

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answers from Boston on

I would take her to a couple of orthodontists and let them give their opinions (these consults should be free). Depending on what need to be corrected, 11 is not necessarily too young. My 8 year old has braces because now is the right time to correct what needs correction.

ETA: After reading the responses, I have to add that there certainly are valid reasons to put braces on baby teeth. When younger children have braces, it's not about just lining up the teeth but about correcting the growth of the jaw so that the teeth line up correctly as they come in. My son's braces are cemented onto some of his baby teeth and then when he loses a tooth, it usually literally comes out at the office when they change his bands. He has springs that are pushing his upper front teeth forward and a retainer to pull his lower teeth in. This is a short round, and he will have another round at around age 12. I have the same jaw as him (and my youngest son) and mine wasn't corrected until high school with surgery.

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answers from Reno on

my daughter had hers put on at 9, she is almost a year in. they did not put brackets on her remaining baby teeth so they could still fall out. (she had 5 teeth pulled to try and correct all of this before braces were put on) her permanent teeth had no where to go as her mouth was very crowed and she basically had two rows of teeth. each child is different and a dentist can spot trouble before hand. i think i would just make an appt with an orthodontist (most consultations are free) and see where it goes. good luck :)

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answers from Minneapolis on

You've gotten a lot of responses and I didn't have a chance to read them all so this might be repetitive, but I had braces as a kid (30 years ago) and both of my boys have had them or have them now. Generally an orthodontist won't put on braces until all of the baby teeth are gone. HOWEVER, it is very helpful to have an examination early on to develop a treatment plan. Most like to see a kid for the first time by age 9, often as early as age 7. My son will be 13 in September and just got his braces in June, but he's been seeing an orthodontist since he was about 7 or 8. Sometimes baby teeth do need to be pulled for whatever reason, but you can always get a 2nd opinion.

Orthodontia has progressed and changed. Now instead of pulling adult teeth to make space like when I was a kid they can often use an expander. However, it needs to be done fairly young and well before the actual braces.

Your daughter is not too young and there are a variety of medical reasons, not just cosmetic, to get orthodontia treatment. Also, it can be very important to self-esteem and confidence. Please take her to an orthodontist at your earliest convenience and feel free to ask lots of questions and get multiple estimates and opinions. There's a variety of methods of treatment. I interviewed at least 5 orthodontists before I selected the one we see. Good luck.

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answers from Washington DC on

I would go to a new dentist for a new opinion and to a new orthodontist as well. She is young; but now-a-days kids bodies are much more developed and mature than before! I had braces in High School but I had to wait for certain teeth to grow-in. I guess if they are pulling baby teeth, it isn't that bad. Sometimes the mouth needs help with "speeding up the process" or having room for the adult teeth to come in. If there is no room for adult teeth, that can cause problems like what happened with my mouth! The doctor waited too long and I had adult teeth growing "behind" my baby teeth. It was awful and embarrassing. I had to get both adult teeth pulled and braces put on just because of that reason. My teeth were perfect! Now my teeth don't even line up the way they use to. :(

Good luck!

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answers from San Francisco on

It's much less painful to have your teeth straightened when you're still growing. I say this as a person who waited until adulthood to have my teeth straightened. If you're able to afford braces, why not get her teeth straightened, rather than make her suffer through junior high, hoping her teeth straighten our on their own? What if they don't? Then, a mouth of metal all through high school? (Or even worse, college!) Ugh.

I don't know, pretty much every kid in middle school around here has braces. Most kids start around 7 years old with palate expanders (to give the adult teeth more room to grow in), and then if necessary, braces around 10-12. But the age really depends upon how many adult teeth have grown in. My 9 year old is in a holding pattern with the orthodontist because she lost one of her baby molars really early, and it's taking forever to grow back in - so he couldn't attach the palate expander, so she's literally the only kid going into 5th grade without braces. She has 4 baby teeth left, and as soon as they fall out, she gets braces.

Bottom line, if you straighten them now, she'll have a perfect bite and healthier teeth in the long run, with less agony during the process. Earlier is better in this case, from everything I have heard in speaking to our dentist, orthodontist, and other parents.

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answers from Dallas on

I wouldn't do it at that age. I agree with Jo. And age is not the only factor. With braces, you must brush your teeth 3 times per day always and floss.

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answers from Grand Forks on

My son is ten and he has had eight teeth pulled by the dentist. His baby teeth weren't falling out on their own, and causing his adult teeth to come in quite crooked, and his eye teeth were growing into the roots of the teeth next to them. He will definitely need braces, eventually, but for now the orthodontist is making him a retainer.

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answers from Los Angeles on

My granddaughter and her parents were told by an orthodontist (that they were referred to for a consultation by the kid's dentist) when she was 8 or 9 that she should have them put on in 5th grade, when she was 10. She just had them put on in May and will turn 11 in October. She doesn't have brackets around her baby teeth, and said something about an expander.

I don't recall what the reason they recommended they be done now was, sorry, I recall something about the jawbone, but it spurred my sister to take my nephew in (he's 3 months older than my granddaughter) and he gets his on next week.

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answers from Jacksonville on

I don't remember exactly how old I was, but I do remember my older sister fighting with my mom and demanding that she get me braces before I went to high school. She said high school is tough enough without having kids make fun of your braces. Just something to think about.

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answers from Washington DC on

well, I was 10 when I got them and I had them out when I was 12. I really liked that I had them at that age. I had perfectly straight teeth before I even hit middle school and all my friends had to have braces during high school and they hated it. My teeth are still straight and I'm 31 now. I do not think 11 is too young. BUT I will say that I had lost all my baby teeth by then

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answers from St. Louis on

For the most part baby teeth must be out so it isn't really an age issue. My two older kids had all their baby teeth out and the adult ones in at 11ish and that was when they got them.

No good orthodontist will put braces on baby teeth so I suppose you could use that as a way to weed out the bad docs. :)

Oh, that last statement not entirely true. Sometimes the will put them on because there isn't room for the teeth to come in and they don't want them coming in at strange angles, otherwise you have to have your adult teeth.

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answers from Dallas on

My son is six and when his six year molars come in, he'll start with an expander. He has a crossbite and crowding, so that's the biggest issue. He will need braces early to work on the issues with his bite. So, yes, she could be the right age.

I am absolutely confident in my dentist, since it's my brother in law. It may not hurt for you to get a second opinion and research her issues some more before you decide what you want to do. Teeth are an important first impression, it's not something you want to gamble on just because you got lucky in that regard.

BTW, my best friend was told by her dentist her son would need braces at 10. She thought that was crazy too, so she got a second and third opinion. The other two dentists told her to wait until 14 and that's what she did.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

In most of the kids that I know who had braces the earlier they got them, some were having teeth pulled and their jaws stretched with Bionators, by age 8.

I think your personal experiences with your teeth may be influencing this a lot. Why not go ahead and make an appointment for just a look by an orthodontist. It can't hurt to see what he says. If your family has a history of slow bone growth it may be that her adult facial bones won't take off and grow until she is older and her teeth will do like yours and look great.

I will say though that if she is not going to have that growth spurt that will allow her to have enough room for her teeth then she needs to do braces now. Before that jaw bone gets set too much. It seems it would just make it more painful and difficult to fix if it's not done sooner than later.

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answers from Minneapolis on

Our dentist just referred us to the orthodontist for a evaluation as my 9 year old son has a huge gap between his two front teeth. At the evaluation, the orthodontist and I discussed our options and in my sons case....we are actually putting braces on his teeth.....six brackets put his front teeth closer together so that we won't have to pull teeth.....which only prolongs the problems and doesn't guarantee that there would be enough room anyways. This will be for 6-12 months only. We will evaluate the need for braces after that as he gets older.
In your case, I would get a consult with a great orthodontist and see what he says. I love that my dentist sent us out before pulling a bunch of teeth, to get the big picture.


answers from Boston on

I would set up a consultation with an Orthodontist. That is the best way to determine if and when she should get braces. I had them put in when I was 12 years old. I had them til I was close to 15 years old. I had a huge gap in front teeth and an overbite. My son (8) will need them. I hope to wait til he is older like I was to have them. Make sure she is well aware of the whole process, and the importance of maintaining her teeth while she has them in.



answers from Minneapolis on

See an orthodontist. I found a wonderful one that finally figured out why some weird things were happening in my daughters mouth that our dentist and a different ortho completely missed. My daughter is 11 and just got hers on. He waited for certain baby teeth to fall out before doing braces. He cared what's best for her, not about making money. In fact he gave us choices and gave suggestions on options that would keep the cost down. He also figured out an alternative way to help her so she wouldn't have to wear head gear at night. Some Drs really do care and it's not about the money. My daughter will have a straight beautiful smile going into 8th grade because we are starting now. Good luck and msg me or post if you'd like the name of my ortho.



answers from San Francisco on

I took my GD for an orth consult about 6 months ago. At that time, her adult front teeth had come in, but the eye teeth were still the baby teeth. The ortho told me that those two teeth have to come down before he could give us a good recommendation re braces. We are set to go back in a couple of weeks, but I'm going to call and postpone because only one of the eye teeth have come down. We still have to wait for the second one.

So, if she has both adult front teeth and adult eye teeth, you may be able to get a good consultation.


answers from Reading on

Good Morning!
My son just turned 9 and he has them. He just got them on at the end of June. However, he only has them because his front big tooth refuses to come down so they are putting a device on that will gently ease the tooth down. It's amazing what they can do nowadays!

My daughter will be 12 and she wants them! Unfortunately, her teeth are crooked so she will need them but not yet!



answers from Madison on

Orthodontia has evolved a lot since we were kids. They like to do things in stages now. Our dentist recommended a consultation when my son was only 8, but he had a major overbite with gaps in his front teeth - we needed to address the overbite since he was getting more involved in sports, etc. to avoid him getting them knocked out.

Most orthodontists will provide a free consultation, so it doesn't hurt to explore the options for your daughter. Ask the questions that you feel will get you the most educated decision for you, your daughter and your family.

Since she is so insistent, be sure she has a full understanding about what will go on and how much it costs. If you are going to make the investment, you should probably be sure she understands her responsibility in making it worth your while.



answers from Eau Claire on

I took my daughter in around that age for consultation and they said she should wait until all her baby teeth have come out and her permanent teeth have grown in. He said if you do it too early you will just end up redoing it as a late teen. She is now almost 14 and we are going back for another consultation. Be careful of an orthodontist that will do it too early. There are situations where it is necessary, of course, but if its mostly cosmetic wait until mid to late teens.



answers from Muncie on

I would wait until all the baby teeth were out and the big teeth are in. It's an explanation you can give your girl that she might understand (why straighten teeth that are going to fall out??) and it'll give you time to save up!



answers from El Paso on

I absolutely oppose braces on non-adult teeth. I mean, what's the point?? Why straighten teeth that are just going to fall out? I say wait till all baby teeth are out & all adult teeth (12 year molars included) are in.

ETA: My brother DID have a roof expander before all his baby teeth were in, but definitely not braces.



answers from Minneapolis on

Only an orthodontist can tell you the pros and cons of putting braces on your daughter's teeth now or later. I would go for a consultation, or two, before I would decide that I knew more about teeth than a trained professional.

When I was growing up in the 60s/70s, the only people in my school that had braces were the ones that worked for a specific large company in the next town that had a medical plan (2 in my class). The rest of us just have the teeth that we were born with, no matter what, because our farmer or laborer parents could not afford them.

Yours may have straightened as you aged, but that is no guarantee that hers will. I do think it's too bad that perfect teeth have become the norm, no matter the expense, but I also could not ignore something that made my daughter (I have a 10 year-old) extremely self-conscious growing up. Lucky for me, and her, hers are perfectly straight (mine are not).


answers from San Antonio on

My kids' dentist said they might need braces, but any ortho that does it before their baby teeth are out is only looking for the money.

My oldest is 14 and got his braces when he was 14. I got mine (the first time) when I was 12. I didn't have any baby teeth though.

If she keeps asking, tell her no. She's not having it done until her baby teeth are out. Then I would find a new dentist. (I'm sorry any dentist that pulls baby teeth without setting a second appointment to have it done, it ridiculous!)



answers from Minneapolis on

I don't understand your reluctance. My younger child had orthdontic work starting young, to correct his bite. He got braces at 9. He is 22 now & has best teeth in the family.

Why wouldn't you do this for your daughter?


answers from Biloxi on

My son had horribly jacked up teeth - buck top ones, overbite, and misshapen soft pallet. He began asking for braces when he was about 11.

I waited until he was 14 and had all of his adult teeth in before getting him braces. I explained to him why - that I did not see the point in moving baby teeth and dealing with loose molars while having braces bands glued to them. He dealt with it. LOL

In the first year the overbite and the soft pallet were corrected and the remaining 2 years will be teeth moving.

Several of his friends got braces at 11ish - now, at 16, they are in retainers or invisaline because the adult teeth didn't come in in the same spots or needed more room - so their teeth are still being moved around.

He should have braces off by the time he graduates high school in two years and will be able to go off to college with a beautiful new mouth.



answers from Jacksonville on

Wayyyyy down at the bottom of the posts (Sherry G) is where my daughter is. Same boat, except she is 11. Our dentist has been telling us for years that both our kids would eventually need braces because they have very pronounced overbites (you can barely even SEE their bottom teeth, and their bottom teeth bite into the gums behind their top teeth).
Our son FINALLY got the last of his molars in so we got the referral for the orthodontist. We waited a few months (son was about to test for his 2nd Dan in martial arts, and we didn't want any brand new dental work being smashed in his mouth at his test--sparring with multiple attackers) and took both our kids in at the same time for the free consult.

Son is now in top braces and a herbst (he just turned 14, and is at the primo time for extending his jaw since he is in major growth spurt territory), and goes back in 2 months to get the bottom braces installed.

Our daughter, 11, was molded/fitted for and just got a retainer. She will wear the retainer for a while, as she still has a lot of baby teeth. She ended up needing 4 teeth pulled (the cuspids? ---the canines)... Top left, Top right, Bottom left, Bottom right. NONE of them were loose and weren't going to get that way any time soon, b/c the xrays show that they were growing into the roots of the neighboring permanent teeth, and not under the baby tooth they are supposed to resorb the root of and push out. 2 were particularly bad, and hopefully will now turn into the empty space and come up where they belong, instead of continuing to push into the healthy neighboring roots.
We may have just gotten it done in time. I hope anyway.
The retainer is built up so that her bottom teeth physically cannot go up behind her top teeth anymore. This will help her jaw grow differently over time, as she continues to wear the retainer. She only takes it out to eat. That's it.

Our orthodontist is not, nor did he suggest, putting braces on our daughter, yet. She needs her baby teeth gone first. And she will wear the retainer for at least a year before he will do anything else with her, regardless.

He did an excellent job explaining to us the issues with our kids and their mouths. In all honesty, though we don't exactly have a "plan" for our daughter yet, because we don't know what will happen with the teeth that haven't come in yet. I take that as a good sign! How can you plan when you don't know what you are going to be dealing with?

If you trust your regular dentist, ask him for several referrals and also ask him specifically why those orthodontist(s). Then ask him who to avoid. We are in a smallish rural area between a few larger cities (60-70 miles in either direction) but we still have probably 5 different orthodontists we could go to. Our dentist gave me a list of contact numbers for all the "local" orthodontists, then recommended one, then a "2nd choice" and said that they "don't like to refer people to ___" .
We went with the first top choice. And were very impressed with him, his staff, and our entire experience there so far. And it seems like I've been there a lot in the past 6 weeks, lol.

I think most orthodontists give free consultations. Ours did, along with xrays and "before" pictures. We discussed the xrays at the hour long consultation same day. No charge, even if we'd walked away and said no thanks.

I have never worn nor needed braces. Though when I was 11, I thought I had a huge gap between my front teeth. It eventually closed on its own. My son has "my" teeth, but his dad's jaw/facial structure. My husband never had braces either, but his brother has horribly misaligned and crooked teeth, and it seems our daughter inherited some genes for that. Many of her permanent teeth (that she DOES have) came in as shark teeth. :(

Our son started losing teeth around age 4 I think, and lost them steadily...
Our daughter didn't lose her first one until maybe almost age 6? And it has been very sporadic. It seems like ages since she lost one (until she went to the dentist and had the 4 pulled last month).

It can't hurt to get a peek at what is going on under the gums...



answers from New York on

My daughters are younger but I'd be shocked to death if they don't both need braces later. So I asked our pediatric dentist last visit about timing. There's an 8ish year old girl at school who already has them... He said of course an ortho might tell you to start young but in his opinion, it just makes them more money and takes longer. He said, and this corresponds with what I've read, that it can be beneficial if there's not room for the adult teeth to come in. Then maybe braces or a palate extender. Why don't you ask around for 2 good orthos and take your daughter and see what they say. Tell her if it's a matter of her mouth being overcrowded, then you'll consider it and maybe you should. Otherwise, she has to wait until she only has x baby teeth left or pick an age. You don't want her practically pulling her baby teeth out to speed things up... And I agree that the dentist is likely impartial as he won't make money from it.


answers from Washington DC on

I have not read the responses, but I was looking at my 9 year old and thanking God that her teeth are in great condition, because I thought she would be late for getting them. Some people are in high school, but some are as early as 8 or 9. If you're concerned about it, get a dentist to look at them. I had them from 4-6th grades, and then again from the start of my senior year of high school until a few months after I had my daughter, at age 20. It was MUCH better having them younger than older.

Go get her checked out and see what she needs. Plus having bad teeth is a huge embarassment. It can't hurt to have her looked at.

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