For many people, braces can be the ideal solution for correcting common dental issues and achieving a beautiful, straight smile. But at what age should you get braces? Though many people associate braces with the teenage years, the truth is that there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer.
The team here At Le Dentistry & Associates consider factors like the extent of treatment needed, the age of the patient, and the type of orthodontic issue being addressed when determining the best time to get braces.
In this blog, we'll explore the different factors that can impact when to get braces and help you determine if braces are right for you or your child.
When is the best age to consider braces?
Teenagers are often the ideal candidates for braces as they have most of their permanent teeth, and their teeth are still responsive to correction. Unlike younger children, adolescents' teeth have typically grown in, and unlike older patients, their teeth are more malleable.
When to begin orthodontic treatment depends on the extent of treatment needed and whether the patient has their permanent teeth. Generally, it is most efficient to begin orthodontic treatment during the teenage years once all the primary teeth have fallen out and the 12-year molars have partially erupted. Most children start braces between the ages of 12-14, but some wait until their mid-teens.
Is early orthodontics an option?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children visit an orthodontic specialist around age 7. Although braces are not typically considered at this age, an orthodontist can identify fundamental bite or jaw problems that may benefit from phase-one early intervention orthodontic treatment.
Phase-one early orthodontic treatment involves addressing issues before all permanent teeth have grown in. This type of treatment is usually done between the ages of 7-10 and can help make phase-two orthodontic treatment (full braces) easier and faster.
Phase-one treatment can help correct problems such as underbites, crossbites, overbites, crowded teeth, protruding front teeth, and narrow jaws. Treatment may involve wearing a retainer or partial braces for a short period of time.
Can adults benefit from braces?
Though many adults seek braces for cosmetic reasons, there are other benefits to consider. Misaligned teeth and jaw problems can boost the risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss. Braces can also correct orthodontic problems that cause abnormal wear-and-tear on teeth, gum tissue stress, and misaligned jaw joints.
Around one in five orthodontic patients are over the age of 21. Adult braces can be a more complex process as adult bones are less malleable and no longer growing. Additionally, older oral tissues tend to adjust slower to newly positioned teeth.
However, with the right treatment plan, braces can create a beautiful smile, improve bite alignment, and make oral hygiene easier at any age.
Importance of oral hygiene during orthodontic treatment
Although braces can help to straighten teeth and improve overall dental health, they can also make it more difficult to keep teeth clean. The brackets and wires create spaces that can trap food particles and make it harder to brush and floss effectively.
This can lead to an elevated risk of oral health problems. Therefore, it's essential to maintain good oral hygiene practices during orthodontic treatment to ensure that your teeth and gums stay healthy.
Here are some tips for maintaining good oral hygiene during orthodontic treatment:
Brush and floss regularly
Brush your teeth at least twice a day, and floss at least once a day to remove any food particles and plaque from between your teeth and around the brackets and wires.
Use a special brush
Consider using a special orthodontic toothbrush that is designed to clean around braces. These brushes have bristles that can reach under the wires and around the brackets.
Use a floss threader
Use a floss threader to help you floss between your teeth and under the wires.
Avoid certain foods
Try to avoid hard, sticky, or sugary foods that can get stuck in your braces and increase your risk of tooth decay.
Visit the dentist regularly
Visit your dentist for regular cleanings and checkups. Your dentist can help you to maintain good oral hygiene during orthodontic treatment and monitor your progress.
Consult with a dental expert
Scheduling a consultation with a dental expert is the best way to find out if now is the right time for braces for you or your child. To get started, call our Norcross, Georgia office to schedule a visit with the Le Dentistry & Associates team today.