One of the most frequent questions that we get asked is “what is the best age to start braces for my child?” and “am I too old to get braces as an adult?”
American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children should be evaluated by an orthodontist as early as 7 years old. Most of the time, children this age won’t be ready to have full braces and may not need any treatment at all, but a small percentage may have problems/habits that would affect growth and development, and catching the problem early at this stage will be of paramount importance. Some of these problems/habits include
- Thumb sucking habits (can cause constricted upper jaw and open bite in the front teeth and delayed eruption)
- Underbite, where lower front teeth are in front of the upper front teeth,
- Single tooth cross bite in the front, causing gingival recession of one or more front teeth and increased mobility,
- Unilateral (one sided) cross bite which is leading to jaw shifting and asymmetrical growth
- Dental Impaction or other pathologies
- Severe protrusion of top front teeth that make them at higher risk to trauma or causing social anxiety, etc. [Read more about Early Treatment]
Early correction of these above mentioned issues may help achieve normal growth and development, which will make braces treatment at a later time much simpler and shorter in terms of treatment duration. The patients that are free of these problems/habits will be suggested to return at 6 to 12 months to follow up with another eruption check until they are ready for treatment. This also helps the children to get used to the environment that is the orthodontic office, which will in turn reduce the fear and anxiety that is usually related to going to a dental office.
The most common age to start full braces treatment in the US is around 10-12 years old for girls, and 11-13 years for boys. This period also corresponds to their pubertal growth spurt, which means bigger chance of growth modification as well as faster treatment progression. Dental development does not necessarily correspond to skeletal development either, so the age at which everyone get their adult teeth and lose their baby teeth are different as well. The physical age is not the best indicator for best timing to start treatment, I would recommend that you visit your local orthodontist (and if you are close to Concord, MA area, come see us!) for your own assessment. [Make an Appointment]
Are Teeth Still Able to be Moved If I’m Not a Teen Anymore?
Absolutely. My eldest patient at the end of her treatment was 68 years young! More and more adults nowadays are undergoing orthodontic treatment, many because they did not have the appropriate opportunity when they were younger. With improvement of standards of living and technology, there are many more options for treatment other than the “metal mouth”: clear braces, clear aligners (Invisalign or Suresmile Aligners), lingual braces (on the tongue side), etc. Spaces from previously extracted teeth may be able to be closed by orthodontics, existing crowding that makes flossing/brushing difficult can also be resolved, as well as airway issues and/or sleep apnea problems are some of the ways orthodontics may improve the quality of your life, and give you that extra boost of self-confidence in professional and social life. Accelerated movement are also achievable through techniques such as Propel accelerated treatments, so inquire with us to see how orthodontics can seamlessly fit into your lifestyle! It is never too late to start invest in yourself!
Hope this was helpful to you, and please let us know through email or comments below if you have any questions!