What is the Best age to get Braces
Most people believe only “tweens” should receive braces. However, kids, tweens, teens, and even some adults can benefit from braces. Let’s dig a little deeper into this topic to determine the optimal age to get braces.
Is There Really a Perfect Age for Braces?
In general, the ideal age for braces is an age that is relatively early in life when a patient’s adult teeth have started to emerge and are still malleable, meaning they can be guided as necessary for the proper look and functionality. Furthermore, the dental structures below the teeth such as the facial bones and jaws should still have the potential to grow when the braces are added.
The Mayo Clinic reports treatment with the addition of braces should commence when a young patient has lost the majority of his or her primary teeth and the adult permanent teeth start to emerge. This age range is typically between 8 years-old and 14 years-old. The vast majority of patients should have their braces put in place during the middle school years, meaning they will be between 11 and 14 years-old or in that general range.
It is prudent to add braces when patients are young, typically between the ages of 9 and 15 as these youngsters will enjoy faster results with an alignment that stands the test of time. Though braces also have the potential to be effective in older patients, they do not work as quickly or provide as long of an alignment in adults.
In the best possible scenario, braces will be added at a young age when the patient’s teeth, as well as the underlying bones, are still growing, easier to move into the proper positions, and less dense. Adding braces at this point in time maximizes the chances that the teeth will remain in the new positions after being guided into place by the braces. Furthermore, adolescents have comparably fast metabolisms that help enhance treatment all the more.
What About the Pre-braces Examination?
Pre-braces examinations should commence prior to the braces treatment. The American Association of Orthodontists reports kids should visit with an orthodontist before or at the age of seven to gauge whether orthodontic care such as braces will be necessary in the years ahead. This appointment also helps determine whether early intervention will be required to reduce the need for subsequent treatment.
Is a Specific Age too Late for Kids to get Braces?
In short, no. There is no age that is considered to be too old for braces. Kids, tweens, teens, and even some adults can benefit from braces as well as other forms of orthodontic treatment. Plenty of adults have benefitted from more modern versions of braces, referred to as Invisalign aligners, that move the teeth into the proper positions in a discreet manner. The bottom line is older teens and even adults can benefit from orthodontic treatment. When in doubt, meet with the orthodontist to determine whether you can benefit from braces or another form of orthodontic treatment.
When is the Earliest a Patient can get Braces?
Ideally, young patients will visit with the orthodontist by the age of seven. This early appointment provides the orthodontist with an opportunity to determine whether the patient needs braces. The orthodontist’s early intervention might take the form of a palatal extender or another fixed or removable appliance to move the teeth into the optimal positions within the mouth, lowering the chances of requiring subsequent treatment or possibly even eliminating such treatment.
Plenty of kids receive braces as early as the age of eight. This early attention to the teeth is centered on the use of early orthodontia referred to as Interceptive treatment. However, the vast majority of youngsters who receive braces receive them between the ages of 10 and 14. In some cases, two-phase braces treatment that provides early intervention along with conventional orthodontic care is optimal. The initial phase involves adjustments to the jaw as well as the primary teeth to stimulate the healthy growth of adult teeth and provide an opportunity to intervene with orthodontic treatment. Phase two shifts the adult teeth into the proper positions within the mouth.
A Closer Look at why the Early Teen Years are a Golden Opportunity for Braces
There is a good argument to be made that the best age to receive braces is between 10 years-old and 14 years-old. This age range is generally considered the optimal time to add braces to the mouth as it is the point in time when preteens, as well as younger teens, have the vast majority of all of the adult teeth in place.
Furthermore, this is also the age range in which the soft jawbone tissue will prove responsive to the teeth being repositioned within the mouth. However, every patient is unique. It is quite possible the best age to receive braces will be sooner or later than that proposed above simply based on the patient’s nuanced treatment needs and the timeline for his or her unique permanent teeth eruptions.
In general, braces are typically most effective and work with the utmost efficiency during the period of adolescence if applied after the child has lost all of his or her primary teeth yet not before the second molars erupt. The second molars typically erupt between the ages of 11 and 13. Though a large percentage of children receive their braces between 12 years-old and 14 years-old, there is another large group of youngsters who do not commence orthodontic treatment until they reach their mid-teen years or late teen years. In the end, the ideal age for braces ultimately hinges on the patient’s unique oral health challenges, teeth growth, and other idiosyncratic factors.
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