10. Braces Now or Later?
A few reasons why early braces might be necessary
Braces used to be a teenage rite of passage. But these days you see six-, seven-, and eight-year-olds with mouths full of metal. Early braces are controversial with parents, who question whether they're truly necessary.
According to orthodontist Jill Bruno, early braces aren't needed for crowding or overbites, so you might seek a second opinion if your orthodontist is pushing them. They can, however, be helpful in some instances. These include a cross bite, in which the upper teeth fall inside the lower teeth when biting down. Left untreated, this can throw off the symmetry of the face.
When there's a significant skeletal discrepancy, early braces are also a good idea. This might be a large lower jaw with a small upper jaw ("Think Jay Leno," says Bruno) or vice versa. If you don't correct such a condition with braces early, surgery or extensive treatment may be needed later.
Teeth growing in crooked or twisted require early braces because they're more vulnerable to breaking.
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