Everyone wants to show off a beautiful smile because it is an outward expression of inner confidence. And there is no age limit to achieving that smile. While some are blessed with naturally aligned teeth, some require dental assistance to achieve them, and braces are the most common way to obtain beautifully aligned teeth. Parents want this for their children, and adults want it for themselves. If your child’s teeth alignment is concerning, either because of the uneven spacing or over-crowding, braces can fix them.
As children move from primary (baby) teeth to permanent ones, one of the most common questions parents have for their family dentist is, “What’s the best age to get braces?” People are, understandably, unsure of the best time to get braces, and if their child has reached the right age for orthodontic treatment.
Whether you want braces correction for your child or for you as an adult, this blog will cover everything you need to know about braces, from the best time to get braces, types, and early symptoms.
Best Age to Get Braces For Kids
There is no age limit on braces. In our office, our patients are varied in ages between 7 and 95. For children, many different factors contribute to the best time for orthodontic braces. At the initial evaluation with our orthodontists, we assess a child’s current tooth development, as well as their overall facial growth to present a customized treatment plan. Depending on the individual circumstances, ages 9 to 14 can be considered the right time for braces. Ideally, all the permanent teeth have erupted, and the jawbones are still in the process of forming and growing. So, braces will effectively shift the teeth to their correct alignment and correct any bite issues.
When Should I Schedule My Child’s Orthodontist Visit?
The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends scheduling the first orthodontic evaluation for your child when the child reaches the age of seven. By this time the first permanent molars have erupted, and usually, at least some of the front teeth are present as well. This early evaluation by the orthodontist is important because it will provide an overall picture of your child’s tooth and jaw development. If any problems are identified in these early stages, orthodontic treatment would be prescribed, which helps the child avoid more serious problems throughout their teenage and adult years.
Sign Indicating You Might Need Braces
Uneven spacing between the teeth, crooked teeth, and/or poorly aligned jaws are some of the most common oral issues that can be fixed by braces. However, braces are the remedy for other oral issues beyond simply crooked teeth. Hence, we emphasize the early orthodontic evaluation for kids to promote early care and correction.
We’ve listed some oral signs that require closer attention and an immediate visit to the orthodontist below:
- The teeth of the upper and lower jaw don’t align over each other properly when your mouth is closed
- Frequent incidents of cutting or biting the tongue on your teeth
- The issue with pronouncing certain sounds and unclear speech because of the tongue’s position under the teeth
- Difficulty in flossing or brushing crowded teeth
- Difficulty chewing food
Types of Braces
Before committing to wearing braces, you should be aware of the different types. Much of the choice is yours, and our team will help guide you to the right choice based on your unique treatment plan. The orthodontists might suggest a particular braces type based on the severity and type of tooth movement required. You can also choose based on your preferences and what suits your lifestyle the best. The different types of braces you can choose at Mellion Orthodontics are:
Ceramic braces are just like traditional braces, but the only difference is that the brackets are clear. Since the brackets blend into the surrounding teeth, they are much less noticeable than metal braces. It is one of the preferred choices for people who don’t like the noticeable look of traditional braces.
Clear aligners, often generically called Invisalign, are the most esthetic alternative to traditional metal braces. These are custom-made plastic trays that straighten the teeth by applying gentle pressure while they are being worn. There are no wires or brackets; simply wear the clear aligners for 20 to 22 hours a day- that’s all that is needed to achieve your best smile. Patients go through a series of trays and change them approximately every 1-2 weeks (depending on the orthodontist’s recommendation). The clear aligners are removable and practically invisible to the eyes- thus, a preferred choice for adults and teens.
Are Braces For Adults Too?
If you’re an adult that isn’t happy with your smile, are you worried that you are too old for braces? This is a very common question, and the good news is that there is no age limit to orthodontic treatment! Orthodontic care can be provided to patients at any age. In our practice about ⅓ of all our patients are adults.
There are some differences between getting braces as an adult compared to orthodontic treatment for kids. Obviously, adults are no longer growing. That means the treatment mechanics necessary for a successful result can be more complicated, resulting in either slightly longer treatment times or slightly compromised treatment results. Also, the tooth-supporting structures such as jaw bone and gum tissue are more fragile, which then needs to be constantly monitored in a collaborative effort between the orthodontist and general dentist.
While everyone wants aligned, beautiful teeth because of their age and lifestyle, we understand that adults often are concerned with treatment times, frequency of office visits, and interruptions in daily activities. More so, the concern is for the aesthetics of the braces themselves. Our team will spend time at the initial evaluation walking adults through the process, and answering any questions that arise before treatment begins.
It is completely understandable for adults to feel conscious of the visibility of traditional metal braces, but Mellion Orthodontics has good news for you! You can choose our clear Invisalign aligners instead. They’re significantly more discreet as they are removable trays, and they are just as effective as traditional braces while limiting the need to change eating habits and daily routines.
Is There An Age Limit For Braces?
Adults often doubt that they are candidates for orthodontic treatment such as braces. Based on years of research, we know that there is no fixed limit to moving the teeth to achieve a beautiful smile. We also know there are aspects of orthodontic treatment that we need to monitor throughout the process–things such as bone and gum health. At the initial evaluation we establish a baseline for these potential concerns, talk with your general dentist, and formulate a customized treatment plan that will yield both great smile results and keep your dental health in good shape throughout treatment.
How Long Does The Braces Treatment Take?
At Mellion Orthodontics, we never treat two patients the same way. At our office, there is no cookie-cutter approach to achieving great smile results! Hence, there is no set time for adult orthodontic treatment; everything depends on the initial severity of the dental problems. At your initial smile evaluation with our orthodontists, we will assess your specific situation, talk with you regarding your goals, establish a customized treatment plan, and explain how long that treatment will take to complete.
On average, an adult patient can be expected to be in orthodontic treatment with braces or Invisalign aligners for 12-24 months. After the treatment, we prescribe orthodontic retainers for our patients to wear. Adult teeth need to be held in place with retainers, just like our teenage patients.