There are who kids can’t wait to get their braces, seeing them as a sign that they’re about to be a teen and thus be closer to being grown up. However, other kids worry about what braces might feel like or make them look like. Whichever way your child feels about braces, you probably have some questions and concerns of your own about braces.

First off, some kids may need braces for any number of reasons, including crooked, overlapping, or overcrowded teeth, or a “bad bite”. Also, there’s malocclusion which is when there’s a difference in the sizes of the top and bottom jaws. When the upper jaw is slightly bigger than the lower jaw, it’s called an overbite and when the lower jaw is bigger, it’s called an underbite. Most often tooth and jaw problems can be caused by losing baby teeth too soon, accidents, or bad habits like thumb sucking. But other times they’re inherited, so if you or someone in your family needed braces, it’s likely that your kids will need them too.

There’s no set age for a child’s first orthodontist visit. Most orthodontists recommend that children should have their first visit when permanent teeth start coming in, usually around the age of 7. However, consulting with your orthodontist does not mean that braces treatment will begin immediately. Your orthodontist will review with you and your child what the best treatment may be and the best time to start that treatment. The treatment discussed may include waiting until more permanent teeth have erupted, removing any baby teeth that are inhibiting permanent tooth growth or using a multi-phase orthodontia plan that will allow the orthodontist to adjust the treatment as your child’s teeth develop fully.

An uncorrected overbite or underbite can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, tooth loss and abnormal wear on the enamel from your child’s bite being off. It’s important to fix the bite so that your child can avoid these dental issues in the future. Fixing the issue now will save you both time and money as your child gets older and the overbite becomes more pronounced. It will also give them more confidence as they continue to grow and mature in life.