It's hard to know exactly when your children need braces, and it seems like every orthodontist has a different opinion. Kids may still have teeth to lose and new ones to grow in. Their jaws may also still be growing, so it can be hard to say. Unless you have a special circumstance like impacted teeth or a severe bite issue, here are a few ways to know if it's the right time to get braces for your child.

Have Molars Grown In?

Molars don't usually grow in until around age 12; they are called 12-year molars for this reason. When the molars grow in, they can completely change the appearance of the teeth, often causing more crowding. If your child gets braces before 12-year molars grow in, you might end up facing more damage to the teeth afterwards, which may mean your child has to wear their braces much longer or get a second set of braces. In some severe cases, an orthodontist might actually recommend two rounds of braces, one before and one after the 12-year molars have grown in.

Have Baby Teeth Fallen Out?

In some cases, you might have to get started on brace before all of your child's baby teeth have fallen out. Your orthodontist might even recommend having the remaining baby teeth removed. In general, you should wait until all of the baby teeth have fallen out. As adult teeth grow in, it could create more crowding or fill gaps.  

What Does Your Child Want?

Children are certainly not capable of making medical decisions for themselves, but that doesn't mean that their opinions should be discounted. Children with protruding teeth, severe over or underbites, or any host of problems may be getting bullied at school. Most people get bullied at some point, but that doesn't mean that it isn't a serious problem. Orthodontists urge parents to consider bullying when they choose to get braces for their children.

It's important to start braces young, especially if your child is being bullied. It's much better to get braces out of the way when kids are young and many of them have braces, rather than later on in high school or adult life. But if your child gets braces too soon, their mouth might change as they grow, requiring further corrections. Each child's case is unique, so it's hard to say when they'll need braces. Only a trained orthodontist has the information to assess exactly when you child should start wearing braces.