Braces, once cause for serious playground taunting, are becoming an even more common feature of life in America. Approximately 4 million people in the United States of America now wear braces and they are often seen in the mouths of adults, not just children. So, that raises the question, ‘When is the best time to get braces?’
Unfortunately, that is not such an easy question to answer. As everybody’s mouth is different, there is no clear best age for braces, but there are some factors to consider.
Do you need braces?
Obviously, this is the first question that you should consider, whether for yourself or your child. Braces are used to treat a variety of different dental issues such as overcrowding in the mouth, overlapping or crooked teeth. Another common problem that can be resolved with braces is malocclusion, which means one jaw is bigger than the other causing over- or under-bite.
These are not just an aesthetic problem, misaligned teeth can make cleaning more difficult and lead to tooth decay and periodontal disease.
When to get braces?
Because they are used to treat a variety of conditions, the answer to this question will depend very much on the problem that you are attempting to fix. Children as young as seven can benefit from braces, and there is no braces age limit, although the overall health and strength of the gums is a concern when older patients are in question.
Let’s look at the different age groups and the factors to be taken into consideration when deciding if braces are appropriate or not.
7 to 10 years old
This is quite a young age to have braces fitted, and most orthodontists will recommend waiting until a child’s milk teeth have been replaced by permanent ones before braces are fitted. However, in some cases of severe dental problems, braces will be fitted to guide milk teeth into their proper positions, which will encourage the permanent teeth to come out straight.
10 to 14 years old
This is the most common age to have braces fitted. The milk teeth are gone, but the child’s jaw is still developing and growing, making it easier to straighten out teeth.
Unfortunately, this is also when hormonal changes are at their peak and children at their most self-conscious. Your child might not be thrilled with the idea of suddenly looking different, so be sure to discuss the question with them and try to help them see the long term benefits of the treatment.
15 years and up
As we said, there is no upper limit on what age can you get braces. It is increasingly common for adults to seek to correct imperfections in their smile that were acceptable or less noticeable in their youth. Treatment might take longer than in younger patients, due to the jaw being less malleable, but, provided the gums are strong enough, it’s never too late for braces.
We hope that this article answered some of your questions, and if you have any further concerns or queries, why not book an appointment with us here at Doral Sedation Dentistry, and we’ll be happy to give you our expert advice.