Is There a “Right Age” to Get Braces During Adolescence?

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Is There a “Right Age” to Get Braces During Adolescence?

Do you worry that it’s too late for your child to get braces? Or for you, too? Think again. If you need braces, good timing is helpful, but not essential. Regardless of age, braces can straighten your teeth.

When you hear about braces, you probably think of a teenager flashing a metallic smile. Braces can correct a host of problems, like a poor bite, overcrowding, and misaligned teeth, and depending on the issue, there may be a best time to get them.

The experts at Lovely Smiles Orthodontics, led by Dr. Nicole Thompson, are happy to help anyone improve their smile and their dental health with traditional braces, customized braces or Invisalign aligners. We particularly enjoy helping teens get winning smiles, and working with parents to set a timeline for treatment that works for everyone involved. 

Earlier is often better

Your child’s first dentist visit should be as soon as their teeth begin to arrive. This way, they’re accustomed to the process and are unlikely to develop anxiety about it.

However, when your child’s secondary, or permanent, teeth begin to emerge, it’s time to get serious about regular dental appointments. The majority of your child’s 32 adult teeth erupt and take their positions between the ages of 7 and 14. So, the American Association of Orthodontics recommends the first orthodontic visit by the age of 7.

This early look lets Dr. Thompson determine whether your child has a proper bite, may develop overcrowding problems, missing teeth, teeth growing in the wrong direction or have issues like accelerated tooth decay. When teeth are too close together, it can be hard to clean them correctly. 

A poor bite is called malocclusion, and it means your upper and lower teeth don’t meet properly. Malocclusion can make speaking or chewing difficult, and it may also present cosmetic problems. Malocclusion is classified as an overbite, underbite, or crossbite. 

Malocclusion can also hinder the function of your child’s temporomandibular joints (TMJ), which are the joints on each side of the jaw. TMJ disorder can become chronic and painful. 

Here’s a big reason why Dr. Thompson wants to check for problems early: It’s easier to shift their teeth while their jaw and mouth are still developing. 

Also, getting braces at a young age is an investment in your child’s future. They’ll have a fantastic smile for years to come, along with all of the advantages that brings. 

Not all braces are the same

Somewhere around 80% of adolescents in the United States are under the care of an orthodontist. Even if your child isn’t excited about having braces, they’re in good company. 

Although most of us think of metal, wires, and elastics when we hear about braces, the truth is that many more modern options are available. We offer: 

  • Traditional metal braces
  • Self-ligating braces, which don’t have elastics
  • LightForce®, a customized 3D-printed system made of a clear ceramic material
  • BRIUS™, a customized system which attaches to the backs of the teeth
  • Invisalign® clear aligners

Dr. Thompson always goes over your options and discusses the benefits and potential drawbacks of each one, so you and your child can make an informed decision.

Any age is a good age for straight teeth

Although there are advantages to orthodontic care during the teen years, it’s never too late. If you find yourself wishing you had your teeth straightened as a child, schedule an appointment for yourself. Many of our options work well for adults, and with little fuss. 

Invisalign clear aligners are a great option for adults. They’re custom-designed for your teeth and can be easily removed to eat and brush your teeth. You change to a new aligner every week or two so your teeth continue moving in the right direction. 

So our original question — Is there a “right age” to get braces? — is both yes and no. It’s a good idea to treat a problem sooner rather than later, but thanks to modern techniques and options, we can help you get the smile you want at any age. 

Schedule an appointment today at Lovely Smiles Orthodontics in Richmond, Texas, for yourself or for your child, and learn more about your options for braces.