If you’ve ever thought about getting orthodontic treatment – either for a child, or for yourself – it’s natural to wonder: What’s the best age for braces? There’s no single ‘right’ way to answer that question… so let’s look at it from a few different perspectives.
If you think that your growing child may need braces, it’s best to have a consultation with your dentist or orthodontist at an early age. In fact, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that kids be screened for orthodontic problems no later than age 7. Even if it turns out that braces are needed, most kids won’t have them put on for a few more years: The usual age to start active treatment is around 10-14, when most of the permanent teeth have erupted (come in).
But there’s a good reason for screening kids at a young age. Some can benefit from interceptive orthodontics – that is, starting treatment early to take advantage of natural growth processes in the jaw. Wearing a device like a palatal expander or orthodontic headgear for a few months can cut down on a child’s time in braces later… and it may also make treatment more effective.
The ‘tween or early teen years are probably the time when you’ll see the most kids wearing braces. It’s a time of big changes, as children grow toward adulthood. And in many cases, it’s considered the most advantageous age for orthodontic treatment – especially if the type of orthodontics needed works in synergy with the growth and development of the jaws. Once 18 years of age is reached, jaw growth is generally over; that’s why most orthodontists recommend starting treatment at around 12 years old. While it may be an awkward age, at least there will be plenty of others in the same situation – and for many, wearing braces is a shared experience… and one that ends in a relatively short time.
Yet from another perspective, there is no “best age” for braces. It’s an established fact that healthy teeth can be moved into better positions at any age. Some bite problems don’t just affect your appearance – they can interfere with your ability to chew and speak normally, and may cause other dental problems. If you suspect you have an orthodontic problem – or you aren’t happy with the way your smile looks – talk to your dentist or orthodontist.
If you’re concerned that standard metal braces don’t fit your ‘adult’ image, you may be able to take advantage of some other treatment options. Ceramic braces (the kind Hollywood stars like Tom Cruise have worn) are hard to see unless you’re up close. Plastic aligners aren’t braces at all – they are custom-made translucent trays worn over your teeth, which gradually move them into better positions. And lingual braces are placed on the tongue side of the teeth, making them truly invisible. Not all of these options are appropriate in every situation – but your dentist or orthodontist can recommend the choices that are right for you.
So what’s the best age to get braces? If you think you or someone you care about could benefit from orthodontic treatment, the answer might be… right now! Get the details, and discover what plans are right for you by calling us at 1-800-238-5163 today.