How Early Can Your Child Get Braces?

Orthodontic braces could help your child avoid major dental issues later in life

You may have been told that your child may need braces, or wonder if they will at any point in their life. Orthodontia can seem daunting, as it appears to be a big-time and financial commitment. If your child does need braces, our professionals can walk you through your options, to make the process accessible to you.

Signs that your child may need braces

Braces are an intervention that can help your child with crooked, overlapping, or overcrowded teeth. These conditions in teeth at a young age can lead to more serious problems later in life if they’re not addressed.

“Bad bite”, or malocclusion is another condition that your child’s dentist may notice that can be helped with braces. This occurs when there’s a noticeable difference between the sizes of the top and bottom jaws. When the upper jaw is bigger than the lower jaw, it’s called an overbite. When the lower jaw is bigger, it’s called an underbite.

Signs that your child may need braces include:

  • Losing baby teeth early or late
  • Crowded teeth
  • Over or underbite
  • Thumb sucking or pacifier use past age 6
  • Biting cheeks often
  • Teeth coming through in the wrong position
  • Teeth that don’t make contact, or open bite
  • Difficulty eating or biting
a child smiling with orthodontic braces

How can early intervention help?

Braces are most effective when a child’s bones are still forming and growing. Treatment is best when adult teeth have started to come in, usually ages 10-14. If there is a medical reason, however, early intervention as early as 7 or 8 may be necessary. The main factor used to determine how early a child needs braces is how their adult teeth are coming through.

Early intervention can help:


Improving teeth condition

Orthodontic braces can be simultaneously preventative and corrective. This includes reducing the risk of injury to prominent teeth, moving teeth into the correct position as they emerge, and lowering the chance of teeth becoming impacted under the gums. 


Ensuring correct jaw alignment

Not only can early intervention of braces help the teeth develop correctly, but it can also help the whole mouth develop correctly. Early intervention can guide the growth of the jaw bone, and make space for teeth to come through.

When Should Your Child Be Evaluated for Braces?

Dr. Emily Hahn, Pediatric Dentist at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, discusses orthodontic care for children and advises on when your child should be evaluated for braces.

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