Okay, not teeny-tiny infants, but when a dentist recommends putting braces on an eight-year-old, I unabashedly ask, “Braces? On a baby?”
Thankfully, my daughter has been blessed with very straight baby teeth. At six years old she has yet to loose a single tooth… much to her chagrin. Still, as a braces veteran (I wore braces for five years straight), I know that anything can happen once the tooth fairy makes her last visit. Permanent teeth are a whole new world and they are often the impetus for costly orthodontic work.
“Permanent teeth” being the operative words here.
Given the orthodontic hell I went through as a teen, you can imagine how shocked I was to hear that the new trend in braces is to have them put on baby teeth.
Has the economy affected the orthodontic community so harshly that doctors are now recommending that seven and eight year olds walk around with a bunch a metal on their baby teeth? Why? So, they can do it all over again when the kid’s permanent teeth come in?
According to a new report, placing braces on tweens is becoming a common occurrence in the United States. However, some experts are now speaking out about the disturbing trend.
Robert Williams, a board certified orthodontist who teaches at the University of Maryland, recently told NPR that for certain corrections, it’s better to wait until all the permanent teeth have come in before fitting a child for braces.
Dr. Williams says if your child has an overbite or crooked teeth that need simple straightening, then it’s better to defer braces until all their permanent teeth are in.
“Many years ago, you wouldn’t do anything until the permanent teeth were all in,” Antonino Secchi, a professor of orthodontics at the University of Pennsylvania, told NPR. Now, Secchi says some orthodontists are treating kids as young as six or seven, and the kid may end up needing another phase of treatment a few years down the road.
“And at the end, instead of having two years of orthodontics, you end up having four years of orthodontics,” Secchi says.
Translation: Instead of paying one bill for a single treatment, you pay two bills.
What parent is willing to do that?