FAQ’s: Getting Braces Twice

Why do Some People Need to Wear Braces more than once?

Orthodontic appliances, Beecroft Orthodontics

I often hear this question from new patients: Why do some people need to wear braces more than once?

Often, parents have a friend or their kids have a friend in elementary school with braces. Then a concerned Mom will come in asking, “Why does Johnny’s friend have braces? He’s only in second or third grade. He doesn’t even have all his permanent teeth in. Why would he have braces now? Will he need them again?”

These are all valid questions.

I’m not a huge fan of putting braces on twice when it’s not necessary. But, there are a handful of cases where it is a good idea to have braces once, maybe twice.

Reasons you may need braces early

1.) A growth imbalance--an underbite. Often, when people have an underbite, their lower jaws will protrude or stick out relative to their upper jaws. The main reasons are either the upper jaws are not developed as much or the lower jaws are growing too much. Most of the time this is due to a genetic component, like a father, uncle or grandparent has the same issue.

You will then restrict the growth of the lower jaw to help the upper jaw grow, which is most effective with younger children, 9-12 years old.


2) A habit--most commonly, a thumb habit. When a child goes to bed, he puts his thumb in his mouth for a soothing effect, creating suction at the roof of his mouth. This causes the upper jaw to narrow and constrict. At the very least, if there’s no skeletal or tooth change, we have appliances that fit in the upper mouth and distract the thumb. This gives the child motivation not to put his thumb there.

3) The teeth are in a traumatic position. Sometimes, you don’t have a jaw imbalance, but the teeth came in just a little funny. Often, it’s not because the jaws are out of harmony, but the tooth is just displaced backwards. The reason you want it corrected earlier is every time you chew and bite, you create micro-trauma to that area. You want to get those teeth in the proper position to relieve that chance of something traumatic happening to the teeth.

4) The teeth are severely crowded. Sometimes when teeth are so crowded, your permanent teeth don’t have a chance to come in naturally. When that happens, you may have impacted teeth, which may cause trouble down the road. If you have so much crowding that it’s limiting the chances of your permanent teeth coming in, orthodontists will intervene a couple ways:

  • Spread the teeth out or tip them in certain ways to make more room.
  • Direct the general dentist to remove some baby teeth at the appropriate time to allow permanent teeth to come in.

5) Speech problems. Often, people with speech impediments or other speech issues have issues due to the position of the teeth. We can often fix this early.

6) Airway issues. If your child is snoring, having a hard time breathing at night, or was diagnosed with sleep apnea at a young age, we want to expand the palette. By widening the teeth and upper jaw, we can get amazing changes in the volume of air produced, inhaled and exhaled.

7.) Social reasons. Young kids come in and say because their teeth are flared or they have buck teeth, kids make fun of them at school. I advise we are happy to get those permanent teeth nice and straight, and we’ll monitor them, but they may need braces again when rest of the permanent teeth come in.

Why get braces early?

When you have braces early, there’s always the chance the rest of the permanent teeth won’t come in ideally. Sometimes they come in nicely and you don’t need braces or just need a few tweaks. Other times, they come in like the previous teeth came in and you almost need another set of braces. But when you get them early, you reduce a lot of the complications that would have come about.

The team at Beecroft Orthodontics are experts of dealing with every oral condition that might arise. Contact us today for further information or if you want us to help you pave the way to a perfect smile.

Beecroft Orthodontics, 10472 Georgetown Dr. Fredericksburg, Virginia

Phone: 540-898-2200

FAQ’s: Getting Braces Twice

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