The most obvious reason to get braces is to fix crooked teeth. Since crooked teeth can cause a myriad of health and confidence issues that get worse over time, many dental professionals recommend an orthodontic evaluation to be performed around 7 years old for most children.
However, any age can be appropriate to receive braces depending on the patient’s needs. While a child’s development may indicate a “best” or “ideal” age for braces in most people, any age is better than putting off treatment. Continue reading to learn about when to get braces and why you should not let minor inconveniences become full-blow oral health problems.
Want to find out if you or your child needs braces? Visit Reese Orthodontics in Charleston, SC for leading orthodontic care.
The Ideal Braces Age
There are several reasons that many dental professionals consider a child’s middle school years from around ages 10 to 15 to be the ideal time to get braces.
The first reason is that malocclusions and dental misalignment can worsen over time. A bite that is not properly aligned can eventually lead to jaw pain, chronic headaches, and even damage teeth from overuse. Crooked teeth alone can cause difficulties with brushing and flossing that lead to plaque buildup, which can eventually cause tooth decay and gum disease. Even confidence issues can become debilitating if not properly treated.
The second reason orthodontists recommend the pre-teen years, as ideal for kids to get braces, is that they’re in a “sweet spot” in their bone development. Most kids have lost all their baby teeth by middle school but their heads and oral structures are still growing, making changes to tooth alignment much easier to manage.
This equates to fewer dental problems down the road and a potentially shorter treatment, which translates to financial savings. With an average treatment time of 18 to 30 months, depending on each patient’s issues, braces are ideal for the middle school years, especially if you can time it to be done by the time high school starts.
Braces for Adults
Just because braces have an “ideal” time to be worn does not mean that the treatment is less valuable to adults. More than a million adults in the United States have braces at any given time for good reason.
If you didn’t receive braces as a kid, they likely are even more important as an adult because the oral health issues have compounded. With people living longer than ever before, they have decades more time to let simple malocclusions become major dental disasters. Tooth decay, gum disease, cracked teeth, bad breath, and more can result from putting off braces for too long.
Options for Adults
If you have waited a long time for braces, several treatment options can mitigate the negative effects you may anticipate from having braces.
If you’re concerned about the appearance of braces because of your job or just for the sake of your self-esteem, Invisalign offers a more discreet option. Rather than conventional metal braces, Invisalign treatments consist of using multiple clear plastic aligners to slowly move teeth to their proper position. You can remove these retainers to eat, take a picture, or hold a meeting.
Though Invisalign cannot fix major alignment issues and often costs more than metal braces, it offers an alternative for those who want braces in the “adult version.”
Additionally, ceramic braces can offer some of the same benefits as Invisalign, while keeping the major benefits of metal braces, such as the lower cost and stronger treatment.
How to Choose a Treatment Time
For financial or family reasons, you may not get braces for you or your child right away. Speak with your orthodontist about a two-phase treatment plan to see if that meets your needs.
Two-phase treatment plans allow you to start treatment at an ideal time (such as age 7) and then have the braces removed. Phase two might start in middle school, around age 10 or 11, when their jaws are at the ideal size to receive efficient treatment.
While two-phase plans may take longer, the break can save both the stress of the patient and the budget of the parent.
The main thing is that receiving the braces you or your child needs is always a more ideal time than putting them off for too long. They say that “time and tide wait for no man.” Well, oral health issues wait for no mouth!
Choose Reese Orthodontics
If you’re an adult who is considering braces, you need professional advice on your treatment and payment options. For orthodontic treatments in Charleston, SC, Reese Orthodontics offers the latest technology and treatment plans. We can customize our advanced and comfortable orthodontic treatments to suit your needs. A consultation with Reese Orthodontics includes scans, a comprehensive exam, and a conversation with the orthodontist to discover which treatment options are right for you.
Schedule an appointment with us today to stay ahead of your oral health and receive the best possible treatment in your area.