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Dr. Bullwinkel is proud to partner with The Charleston Moms Blog in ‘Ask The Experts.’  ‘Ask The Experts’ is a monthly publication where local professionals answer any and all questions that LowCountry parents have regarding family and life. 

Q: Is it common for kids to have braces recommended when they still have some baby teeth?

A: Braces with baby teeth… while it may seem unnecessary, it can be very beneficial. Early or Interceptive treatment is typically a short round of orthodontics (about 6-12 months)– maybe with braces, maybe with an appliance– that has a specific objective. About 10-20% of the average orthodontic practice is Interceptive treatment, so it is fairly common.

By 7 years old, the first permanent molars have erupted and can give orthodontists a good indication of the developing bite. While most turning of the teeth, spacing, mild crowding, etc can ABSOLUTELY wait, there are some things that are better treated between 7 and 9 when the growth of facial and jawbones is ideal for intercepting problems before they become more severe.

Things to look out for:
1. Crossbites- If the bottom teeth are outside of the top teeth either in the front or back, early treatment may be indicated.
2. Severe crowding- Early interventions can be done to improve future orthodontic outcomes.
3. Severe protrusion- If the front teeth are sticking too far forward, these teeth can be at risk for breaking.
4. Low self-esteem- Kids can be tough. An easy round of interceptive orthodontics can nip bullying in the bud!
5. Too much overlap of the front teeth- A removable retainer is an easy way to use growth to improve future outcomes.
6. Sleep-disordered breathing- Snoring is NOT normal in children. While braces may not be the necessary intervention, your orthodontist can help direct you toward appropriate treatment to help address this issue. Treatment examples- expanders, allergy, tonsil/adenoidectomy, baby CPAP.

Expert(s):

Dr. Katie Bullwinkel
Board Certified Orthodontist
Bullwinkle Orthodontics