Orthodontic treatment is a rite of passage for many adolescents. At Sims Orthodontics, we evaluate our young patients carefully. Then, we work with them and their parents to determine the proper course of treatment.
One of the most common questions we get from parents is this:
What is the ideal age for braces?
If you need braces in Crestview, Milton, Pensacola, or Gulf Breeze, you may be asking that question, too. It’s an important thing to ask, although the answer isn’t as simple as you might think.
Too Early for Braces?
Sometimes, parents come to see us wanting to know about braces for children who are very young but whose teeth appear to need correction. While it is true that adults of all ages (including adults) can get braces, some parents ask what is the earliest my child should see the orthodontist?
We do advise that younger patients receive an orthodontic screening by age seven in order to recognize potential problems in the future. Crossbites, social concerns, overbites, and severe crowding are some of the problems that are best treated early. Early orthodontic treatment is effective because younger children are generally more receptive to it and their jaws and bone structures have not fully formed. Having this advantage allows us to guide and influence jaw growth to help prevent major procedures in the future.
The Adolescent Smile
Most children have lost the majority of their baby teeth by the time they reach the age of 11 years old. Once the adult teeth have grown in, we believe that’s the ideal time to make plans to fit your child for braces if they are needed. When we can place braces on all the adult teeth at one time It allows for more efficient treatment and usually faster results. Spacing, crowding, underbites and deep bites can all be treated at this time.
Children between the ages of 11 and 15 are still growing rapidly. While that might seem to complicate treatment, it actually makes it easier. That’s because your child’s rapid growth makes adolescence the ideal time to shape their teeth and correct issues.
The majority of our young orthodontic patients come to us to get fitted for braces between the ages of 11 and 15. The length of time they wear braces will vary depending upon the severity of the problems requiring treatment. However, most patients will finish with their treatment before they graduate from high school.
Waiting for Braces
If the ideal time for braces is between 11 and 15 years old, the next question to ask is whether there’s a downside involved with waiting.
According to the American Association of Orthodontists, approximately one-fifth of all orthodontic patients are over the age of 18. That’s a clear sign that it’s not impossible to fix problems such as crooked teeth or an improper bite in adulthood – but it’s important to be realistic about what’s possible and what isn’t.
Childhood is the ideal time to get braces and braces are far more common in children today than they were a generation ago. That means that many parents wish for healthier, more attractive smiles for their kids. Here are some of the factors to be aware of if you don’t correct your child’s orthodontic issues while they are still young:
- Adult bones have stopped growing, and when that happens, comprehensive structural changes may not be possible without surgery.
- Most adolescents wear braces for about 18-24 months, but adults who get braces with bite issues often need to wear them for a longer period. The average is two years but can be longer.
These are some of the reasons that we recommend to parents that they get their child examined by an orthodontist before they stop growing.
When Will Your Child Be Ready for Braces?
While the best age range for braces is when your child is between the ages of 11 and 15, there are exceptions. If you have been told that your child’s primary teeth have serious problems or if your child’s bite is causing problems, it may be worth talking to your orthodontist about early treatment to help the adult teeth grow in with minimal issues.
For most children, waiting until their 12-year molars come in is the recommended course. You do not need to wait for wisdom teeth. In fact, getting your adolescent fitted for braces before their wisdom teeth come in may reduce the risk that they’ll have problems with them in the future.
The best thing to do is to have your child’s teeth evaluated by an orthodontist. Sometimes, a problem may not be obvious. Having a professional check your child’s teeth and bite is the ideal way to decide whether braces are required and at what age your child will be ready for braces.
To learn about Sims Orthodontics treatments for adolescents, including braces, please click here.