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Now or later?

When’s the best time to get your children’s teeth checked for any orthodontic problems? We asked the experts.

Parents often ask us at Duxton Dental, “Should we get our kids’ teeth straightened now at aged eight to eleven, or wait? I’d heard that it’s best to wait until they are teenagers to have braces or Invisalign because they have stopped growing by then.”

We explain that from the age of eight to eleven is actually the ideal time to have an initial orthodontic assessment. This is because although treating as a teen is often appropriate, some things are best to know early. For instance, are there any missing permanent teeth, or are there any conditions that could be affecting normal facial development?


  • Cross bites. This is when teeth are on the wrong side of each other. Left untreated, teeth can be damaged and growth affected.
  • Narrow upper arches. This can stop the lower arches from coming forward and developing properly, which can lead to front teeth being pushed forward.
  • Crowding or spacing. This can lead to premature wearing down of the adult teeth.
  • Prominent front teeth. Where the lower lip doesn’t protect the upper front teeth when the lips are relaxed, so when running around at home or the playground, the teeth can be at higher risk of traumatic injuries. 
  • Upper or lower jaw out of alignment. In some cases, leaving this untreated could result in facial asymmetry or a missed opportunity to correct a facial imbalance, like a recessive chin. 
  • Cosmetic or self-esteem issues relating to an upset smile. Generally, we only treat at this age if there is something that is affecting normal function and preventing normal growth and development, but occasionally, crooked teeth can insight teasing, and this could warrant early treatment.

So with many practices providing free orthodontic screening, why not get your young ones checked out, just in case.

03 348 5488 / duxtondental.co.nz

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