In theory, you are never too old to get braces. Especially if you decide you’d like to improve the appearance of your smile with cosmetic dentistry. However, for kids, there are many factors to consider when it comes to the best age.
There are many reasons why it’s essential to look at each case on an individual basis. Here we look at the different circumstances for getting braces and what role age plays in orthodontic or cosmetic dentistry treatment.
What are the types of braces available?
Orthodontic braces are considered a “dental appliance.” They bring your teeth into proper alignment by gently easing your teeth into their ideal position over time. With traditional braces, metal brackets and wires are fixed to your teeth, and as treatment progresses, the wires are tightened and loosened as required to get the desired results. Sometimes, rubber bands are used to add more tension for improved movement.
Treatment time varies based on the condition of the teeth ranging from months to years. However, Invisalign® treatment is also available. Instead of the wire and metal of traditional braces, these customized, clear teeth aligners help do the same job of easing your teeth into place.
The aligners are changed every two weeks or so, with each set of trays designed to help progress treatment and provide improved alignment. However, they are practically invisible, require no in-office adjustments, and are removable for eating, drinking, and brushing your teeth. That makes them a very popular choice among teens and adults seeking cosmetic dentistry treatments.
Why Do People Need Braces?
There are three main reasons we recommend braces to our patients:
1. Crooked teeth
Crooked teeth are the reason most people think of when they picture needing braces. Whether people want to improve the appearance of their smile or the misalignment of their teeth is causing other dental issues, braces are generally used to straighten teeth.
Your dental health can suffer if you have crooked teeth, including risks to your overall oral hygiene. Overlaps and crowding make it difficult to clean and floss your teeth properly, leading to decay.
On the other hand, if you have gaps in your teeth, you are more likely to have food and debris trapped in the cracks, which also leads to decay. The straighter your teeth and the more even your gaps, the easier it is to clean your teeth effectively. However, there’s more to straight teeth than appearance and good oral hygiene.
Straight teeth help provide healthier bite and chew. Your teeth have less wear because you chew more efficiently, putting less strain on your jaw. With perfect teeth, you enjoy a perfect bite and avoid many issues, including headaches, jaw pain, clenching, and even backaches.
2. Misaligned bite
If you have an issue such as an overbite or underbite, braces can help adjust your bite. If you have an overbite, it means that your upper jaw sticks out farther in front of the lower jaw when you bite down. An underbite is the opposite, with your lower jaw overlapping your upper jaw.
Many people dislike the appearance of their misaligned bites and can suffer from many issues, including the uneven distribution of pressure and use when you bite. You can have pain in the jaw due to tension and uneven bite, and grinding can also damage your teeth and jaw. You can also cut cheeks or lips with a misaligned bite.
3. Narrow bites
Some people have a top arch in their mouth narrower than the bottom arch of their teeth. That makes it hard to chew food and also leads to grinding and clenching. Your teeth never sit quite right between the upper and lower teeth. While this might not seem like something braces can correct, braces with spacers and expanders work to widen the arch until it reaches its optimal position.
How can you tell if your child needs braces?
There are a few things parents can watch for to see if their child might need braces, including:
- They are losing their baby teeth earlier or later than usual.
- Their teeth appear too crowded or misplaced.
- The child has trouble biting or chewing.
- Your child sucks their finger or uses a soother for too long.
- One of the child’s parents had braces, an overbite or underbite.
- Mouth breathing.
- Their jaw shifts, protrudes or is recessed.
- Clicking sounds when they chew or move their mouth.
- They have injuries due to biting their cheek.
- There is bleeding in the roof of the mouth.
- Their bite is abnormal, or teeth don’t meet at all when they bite down.
- Their jaw or teeth seem out of proportion with their face.
If you notice any of these issues, speak to our team. Keep in mind issues such as crowding, gaps, protruding upper teeth, extra or missing teeth, and jaw growth are often inherited. If one of the child’s parents had braces or any of these issues, there’s a higher chance the child will have them. However, with regular dental checkups, we will be looking for these types of problems.
What is the average age that kids need braces?
While we can often spot potential orthodontic issues as early as seven, the ideal age to get braces varies. In most cases, treatment is recommended between 9 and 14 years, when kids tend to have most of their permanent teeth. Kids are also still growing and are more responsive to treatment at this age. By this time, any issues will be more apparent as well.
Why choose to get braces?
Braces are used for many treatments, including correcting bite issues, gaps, and overcrowding. When your teeth are straight, you enjoy not only a perfect smile but also a healthier bite and improved oral hygiene. With a healthy bite, your jaw and chew remain comfortable, and you avoid damage to your teeth and jaw muscles from grinding or uneven chew.
Many children with misaligned teeth have issues with speech development. Braces can help them speak properly and avoid embarrassment. It also reduces the risk of requiring costly speech therapy not often covered by benefits. Overall, braces are worth the time and investment as they improve oral health, improved confidence and a perfect smile for life.