Many people assume that early adolescence is the best time for orthodontic intervention. After all, you’re more likely to spot braces on a pre-teen or teenage smile than you are to see them on a younger child or an adult.
But even if adolescence is an ideal time for braces, orthodontic care is a flexible, responsive treatment approach that can straighten teeth, fix spacing issues, correct misalignments, and create a beautiful smile through various ages and stages of life.
If you’re contemplating orthodontic care for your child or yourself, here’s what you should know about the best age to get braces — and about the benefits of getting braces when it’s right for you.
The ideal age for braces
Early adolescence, or between the ages of 10 and 14, is widely considered the ideal time to get braces. That’s because preteens and younger teens have all (or nearly all) of their adult teeth in place, and their softer jawbone tissue is still quite responsive to repositioning.
The exact age at which your young adolescent should get braces depends on two factors: The scope of their treatment needs and whether most or all of their permanent teeth have erupted.
Braces tend to be most effective and efficient during adolescence if they’re applied after your child has lost all their primary teeth, but not before their second molars have erupted, which usually occurs between 11 and 13 years of age.
While a considerable number of children get braces between the ages of 12 and 14, plenty of kids don’t begin orthodontic treatment until they’re in their mid-to-late teens.
Early orthodontic treatment
The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that kids see an orthodontic specialist for the first time no later than age 7, well before the “ideal” age for braces.
When Dr. Reese spots jaw problems or basic bite misalignments in younger children, she can address them through phase-one early intervention orthodontic treatment. By setting the stage for faster, easier treatment later on, early orthodontic care can be a valuable tool that saves you money in the long run and shortens your child’s overall treatment time.
Early orthodontic care covers any treatment that’s applied before your child has all their adult teeth. The goal of early intervention, which usually occurs when kids are 7-10 years old, is to tackle easy-to-fix spacing and alignment issues early on, so that phase-two orthodontic care — wearing full braces — is more efficient.
Early orthodontic treatment may mean wearing a retainer. It may also include:
- Wearing a growth modifying appliance
- Wearing a palatal expander to create more room in your child’s mouth
- Wearing partial braces for a short period of time
Simply put, early orthodontic care helps correct fundamental underlying structural issues so that braces can straighten teeth and fix alignment more quickly later on.
Adults can get braces, too
Getting braces may be a little easier or go a little faster during adolescence, but adults from all walks of life are learning that age is just a number when it comes to receiving and benefiting from orthodontic treatment.
Adults account for about 20% of orthodontic patients, according to AAO statistics. While many adults opt to get braces in pursuit of a flawless smile, there are other benefits to having straight teeth and a properly aligned jaw.
Because crowded or crooked teeth are more difficult to keep clean and free of plaque, wearing braces to improve spacing and straighten teeth helps protect against tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss, which rank as the most common oral health concerns among adults.
Although harder jawbone tissue can mean a longer, more involved treatment process for adults with braces, the right orthodontic treatment plan is usually all it takes to straighten teeth, improve bite alignment, make oral hygiene easier, and create a perfect smile at any age.
At Reese Orthodontics, we offer a full scope of orthodontic services, ranging from clear aligners and kid’s braces to accelerated orthodontics. Call your nearest office in Chanhassen or New Hope, Minnesota, or use the online scheduler to book an orthodontic consultation with Dr. Reese.