How 12 Year Old Molars Affect Your Orthodontic Treatment - Thomas Orthodontics

How 12 Year Old Molars Affect Your Orthodontic Treatment

12 year old pointing to molars with braces.

A large percentage of orthodontic patients get their treatments during the teen or pre-teen years. This includes patients who choose both braces and clear aligners. And, understandably, parents are deeply concerned about the impact of 12-year-old molars on orthodontic treatment. We are here to answer some of your pressing questions about 12-year-old molars and their impact on treatments.

Understanding 12-Year-Old Molars

12-year-old molars, also known as second molars, are large, flat teeth that typically appear around age 12 but can come in as early as age 10 and even as late as age 14. These molars are located at the back of the mouth and aid in chewing and grinding food. 12-year-old molars are permanent teeth, but they are not wisdom teeth – those come a few years later in late adolescence or early adulthood.

Ways 12-Year-Old Molars Can Affect Orthodontic Treatment

The development and positioning of 12-year-old molars can have various implications for orthodontic treatment, but it doesn’t mean your child shouldn’t get treatment because of them. Let’s explore the answers to some common questions about this issue.

Can You Start Orthodontic Treatment Before the 12-Year-Old Molars Come In?

Yes, you can get braces or aligners before 12-year-old molars have erupted. In fact, if teeth are crowded, your orthodontist may suggest beginning treatment at this point to make room for these incoming teeth. Conversely, you may not want to begin orthodontic treatment too early, as it is best to treat the permanent teeth so that treatment is effective for the long term.

Can You Get Braces on 12-Year Molars?

Yes, you absolutely can. As we mentioned, braces are best when placed on permanent teeth, and 12-year molars qualify. The same applies to clear aligner treatment. Similarly, if you are seeking orthodontic treatment later in life after wisdom teeth appear, braces or aligners can be used with these teeth if necessary for treatment.

What Happens if 12-Year Molars Erupt During Braces Treatment?

Like all teeth, 12-year molars don’t come in overnight. If they have not yet erupted when you begin your braces treatment, your orthodontist will closely monitor and plan for them to come in. Your treatment will continue during this time, and when the molars are in, they will be incorporated into your treatment if appropriate.

What About Aligners?

As with braces, aligner treatment can continue as the 12-year molars grow. At some point, however, aligner trays may no longer fit properly as they were created from a mold taken prior to the new molars erupting. If and when this occurs, we will simply take a new mold of the teeth, which will include the 12-year molars, and continue with more well-filling aligners.

Will 12-Year Molars be Painful for Orthodontic Patients?

12-year molars may cause mild discomfort from time to time as they come in. At the same time, orthodontic treatments, including both braces and aligners, can cause periodic soreness. Neither circumstance should cause severe pain (if it does, see your dentist or orthodontist for help). If you experience discomfort during orthodontic treatment or while 12-year molars are coming in, use over-the-counter pain relievers or a topical oral numbing medication as needed.

Don’t Wait for an Orthodontic Consult

While the eruption of 12-year-old molars can present challenges during orthodontic treatment, remember that with careful planning and expert guidance, these issues can be effectively managed, and early treatment may actually be preferable to waiting.

We are extremely experienced in planning and implementing treatments during the teen years, including around the eruption of these molars. If you have any concerns about their impact on your orthodontic journey, don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation with our office for personalized guidance.