Braces – Your Options at Different Ages
One question that many people, especially parents, face is at what age is right for braces? Get them too early, and further treatment might be required later in life; get them too late, and they may need to be worn for a more extended period or cause additional problems for the already angst-ridden teenage years.
There’s no universal right answer to this question, but we can draw from our years of experience to provide some advice on factors to consider.
Braces in The Early Years: Ages 7-9
We like to do an initial evaluation around age 7. Of course, this does not mean we will apply braces this early, but we can give you a glimpse into the future in most cases.
Most baby teeth are out by age 7, and an experienced orthodontist can tell what the alignment of permanent teeth will be. In some instances, partial teeth alignment or even braces can be applied if your child is experiencing difficulty speaking or trouble eating as a result of weak teeth alignment.
Your child might also be treated with braces if she or he has a cross-bite, protruding teeth, or tooth crowding. Managing these issues early will prevent them from becoming worse as new permanent teeth emerge.
If your child does need braces at this stage, you should be ready to help take care of them. And sure, wearing braces can provide a lesson in self-care, but don’t take a hands-off approach to care until your child is older and has better habits.
The Middle Years: Ages 10-14
By this stage, all baby teeth have probably fallen out. Most children who receive braces are within this age range, and their jaws are usually stable enough to support orthopedic treatment.
Braces now come in several flavors – from traditional metal to invisible aligners. And while there is still a certain stigma about wearing braces, parents will be glad to know they are much more accepted due to their prevalence in their peer groups. But as a parent, you don’t get a pass yet – you still need to talk over the changes with your child.
Most children in this age group are old enough to take care of their dental appliances without parental help. And for the record, your child will most likely be wearing braces for 18 months to two years.
Finally, once the braces are removed, a retainer will be likely prescribed to prevent costly teeth treatment later on.
The Later Ages: Ages 14+
Today, people are never too old for braces. That being said, a lot of people don’t have orthodontic insurance options, or they delay getting treatment for other reasons.
It may be helpful to switch up your mindset on your teeth and their care. Sure, they do stop growing near the end of adolescence, but with the right care and treatment, your teeth can often last a lifetime.
Your dental team will teach you how to care for your braces, including changes in your diet. But no matter the changes you need to make, consider them to be short-term sacrifices for long-term benefits, including your smile and sense of self-worth.
Our Orthodontic Consultation
In the end, perhaps the best way to know your orthopedic options is set up an evaluation with your local Paradigm Dental specialist. We treat everyone from ages 7 to 100+ and would love to add you to our family of patients. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.