Today, braces are common for children, teens and even adults. Patients of all ages can benefit from braces. However, the ideal time for braces is during 10-14 years of age, while the head and mouth are still growing. The teeth are easier to straighten and correct during this time of development.
While there are multiple reasons for receiving braces, crookedness and bite issues are among the more common. However, some patients may even receive braces to help with dental issues regarding the second molars, also commonly called the “12-year molars” . Since the 12-year molars are permanent “adult” teeth they do not erupt immediately. Generally, the 12-year molars erupt around ages 11 to 13 years, which is how they got their nickname in the first place. However, do not be alarmed if the 12-year molars begin to cut the gums sooner or later than this age range, as every individual is different.
One of the more prevalent dental issues involving the second molars in the mouth is impaction. Impaction of permanent molars is actually a relatively common occurrence—Although most common in wisdom teeth. Regardless, impaction is likely to happen in cases where the second molar fails to erupt or if there isn’t enough space in the jaw for the second molars to come in since they erupt after existing teeth are in the jaws. Typically, impacted second molars will look sideways or nearly perpendicular to the first molars on a radiograph.
This is where orthodontic guidance is highly suggested when dealing with impaction. Orthodontically assisted eruption may be needed depending on the degree of affected impacted molars. Specialized bands may be placed on the 12-year molars affected and traditional bands will be placed on the remaining teeth. In other cases, braces may not be needed at all. It is best to consult with a pediatric dentist for an initial evaluation. If a referral is needed, the pediatric dentist will provide options for you.
At Little Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, we offer an array of treatments for our wonderful patients. As a parent, if you feel that may need more information regarding 12-year molars and braces, please do not hesitate to call our office today! Dr. Konz, our pediatric dentist would love to see you for an initial consultation to discuss any questions that you may have. Conveniently located in Ashburn, Virginia, we look forward to hearing from you.