What Age Is Best for Braces?

More than 4 million people in the US wear braces, with 25% being adults. Braces are an effective orthodontic treatment for improper bites, tooth crowding, and other forms of malocclusion. They exert constant pressure on the teeth and jaws to align them and correct smiles.

When you notice crowded teeth or an improper bite in your child, your first instinct is to get them braces. However, there's always the question of whether they're too young for braces. So, what is the best age for braces?

When Should My Child Get Braces?

Age isn't a huge determinant of when your child should get braces; the extent of the malocclusion is. However, most dentists recommend braces for kids between 9 and 14.

This is the ideal age because the kids will have fully transitioned to their adult teeth, while leaving a bit of wiggle room for children who develop their adult teeth a little bit later. Kids in this age bracket also don't have fully developed jawbones.

Orthodontists recommend getting braces while the jawbone is in this state. This makes it easier for the teeth to shift and for the braces to correct bite issues. But if ages 10 through 14 are best for braces, why does the American Association of Orthodontists recommend getting an orthodontic evaluation at age 7?

Well, this early check-up gives the orthodontist an opportunity to observe your child's jawbone growth, tooth eruption pattern and other facial characteristics in order to anticipate any dental issues in the future.

Why Don't Dentists Recommend Getting Braces Earlier?

Your kid might have obvious signs of crowded teeth and an improper bite, yet the dentists won't recommend braces. The biggest concern when getting braces as a kid is that the teeth may not stay in place. This is especially true when the kids haven't fully transitioned into their adult teeth.

What's more, the jawbones of children under 10 aren't fully developed and lack the strength necessary to hold the braces in place. This means the braces won't be as effective, and your child may need to wear them much longer than necessary.

What Are Other Alternatives to Braces?

Braces may not be the best option for self-conscious kids. If this describes your child, here are other options you could explore.

  • Ceramic braces: These braces use clear or tooth-colored brackets, making them less obvious than metal braces. They're a less visually intrusive option than traditional braces.
  • Clear aligners (Invisalign): Clear aligners like Invisalign are virtually invisible because they're customized to fit your child’s teeth snugly. They also don't require metal wires or brackets, making them a comfortable and unnoticeable orthodontic option.

High-Quality Braces for Your Little One 

Consult your dentist on whether your child is old enough to get braces. Braces are effective against many types of malocclusion, but only if the timing is right. Meanwhile, you can explore other orthodontic treatment options to keep your child's smile bright and beautiful.

Contact Harmony Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics for high-quality braces and orthodontic treatments for your kid.

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