We are often asked how old you have to be to get braces — which is an excellent question!
Receiving orthodontic treatment earlier rather than later can have a significant impact on future treatments and possible surgeries. In fact, it may even eliminate the need for braces altogether.
Early Identification of Potential Problems
Most children lose all of their baby teeth by age 13, and by the end of their teen years, jawbones will have stopped growing. Procedures for adults take more time and possibly involve tooth extraction and/or oral surgery.
Children lose their baby teeth in a particular order and immediately replace them with permanent teeth. Molars should start to come in as well, between the ages of six and eight. However, if a child is losing more or fewer teeth than normal, or teeth are coming in at odd times, it could mean that something out of the ordinary.
Also, if permanent teeth don’t have the room they need to come in, extracting a tooth might prevent larger problems later on. Orthodontists have specialized training in facial development, skeletal growth patterns, and tooth development and can identify potential problems in children at around seven years old.
Braces may not be indicated in children this young, but we can begin phase 1 of treatment if needed. If we notice problems with the jaw or other issues such as underbite, the orthodontist can begin treatment while the bones in the jaw are still growing and some of the baby teeth are still present.
How Young to Evaluate — and When to Begin Treatment
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children be evaluated by an orthodontist at age seven. However, just a small percentage of these children will need to be treated this early. Yet at this age, it’s important to ask this question: If we don’t treat the patient now, will we miss a window of opportunity that will negatively affect the child’s outcome?
Orthodontists generally agree that the best time to treat children with braces is between the ages of nine and 12 with girls, and between 10 and 14 with boys. That’s because girls typically develop faster than boys. At this age, baby teeth are out, the head and mouth are both still growing, and teeth are more conducive to straightening.
Once a child reaches age 16 or 17, they have usually stopped growing and the jaw becomes harder and more fixed. At this stage, it will usually take longer to straighten the teeth with braces. Additionally, wearing braces no longer has the stigma for tweens and teens that it once did — and with all of the options available to customize, braces can actually be fun! In the past, kids might have felt self-conscious with braces, but now they commonly view them as a stepping stone toward a healthy smile. To make things even more fun, ceramic braces are available in many cases and come in many colors. We can make them match tooth color!
Invisible braces can also be an option depending on the exact condition that is being treated. And even if a child requires metal braces because of a more severe misalignment of teeth, they are much smaller than they used to be. Rubber bands used on brackets also come in many colors and can be changed out between visits.
How Uncomfortable are Braces?
The process of applying braces to the teeth is not painful or uncomfortable at all. They will, of course, take some getting used to, especially with foods that aren’t “braces-friendly” — like popcorn, sticky candies, and corn on the cob.
If the mouth is tender from brackets, you can use an almost invisible wax, available at just about any drugstore. And while you may feel some minimal discomfort after an adjustment, it usually subsides within a day or two.
A lot of kids are self-conscious about their smiles because of crooked teeth or overbites, and more. Often they shy away from selfies or smiling with their mouths open. In reality, the small amount of time needed to correct teeth alignment is nothing compared to a lifetime of healthy teeth and a beautiful smile!
A Perfect Smile Orthodontics in McAllen, Texas offers you a Free Consultation!
Your beautiful smile begins with a thorough examination and a precise assessment of your oral health by Board Certified Orthodontist, Dr. Taylor at no charge to you!
Visit us for a free consultation where we answer your questions, talk to you about your treatment options, and if needed, even help you with financing options. Together, we’ll discover just how straight and beautiful your smile can be.
And if you decide to move forward with braces orthodontic treatment,
We offer a down payment as low as $399 and a monthly payment as low as $99 a month!
Call us at 956.630.6166, or complete the form below now!