Many parents worry about gaps and wonky teeth in their young children and wonder when they should be taken to an orthodontist or whether nature should just take its course at a tender age. Shivani was recently asked to give her expert advice in a piece in School House magazine.

Parents should be most vigilant from 11 onwards as early crookedness can be a sign that all the teeth will be short of space and require orthodontic intervention. Braces are usually handed out to 11-14 year olds, depending on their dental development, but some require interceptive treatment (known as phase 1) earlier so that the orthodontic work in phase 2 (early teens) is more straightforward.

This could be due to problems like thumb sucking, small lower or upper jaws, or very protruding upper front teeth which could lead to risk of dental trauma in sport or bullying from other children.

Your family dentist should be able to give you advice as they monitor your child’s dental development at regular 6 month check-ups and will know the optimal time to involve an orthodontist.

Times have really changed though since those children in the UK who wore braces were in a small minority – now many teens are begging their parents to get braces so as not to be the odd one out! They realise the benefits of straight teeth and choosing fun coloured elastics can be a fashion accessory!