What Is The Right Age for Braces?

By Gideon Fersztman, DDS, MD

braces

Because patients differ in both physiological development and treatment needs, the orthodontist’s goal is to provide each patient with the most appropriate treatment at the most appropriate time.

Dental braces have been used for decades to correct various dental alignment and spacing issues. Braces can be crucial to the improvement of one’s oral health and to help prevent serious issues down the line.

Roughly 25 percent of people in North America who get braces are adults. But braces are still geared primarily toward children and teens, and consultations allow the orthodontist to monitor a patient’s growth and development and spot subtle problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth.

Braces correct a number of problems, both esthetic and functional, including redirecting jaw growth, alleviating overcrowded teeth, and improving the bite. Crowded teeth can trap food and debris between them, making it harder to floss and brush. If the teeth or jaws are not aligned properly, it can lead to difficulty chewing food or create jaw muscle pain. Braces also may boost self-confidence in remedying often embarrassing appearance issues.”

Parents eager to get their children on the road to straighter teeth may wonder when is the right time to get their kids braces? Many kids are getting braces earlier and earlier, but when to get braces typically depends on the child and the shape of his or her teeth. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children see an orthodontist for an evaluation by age seven. The best time for braces will be when the orthodontist and parents collectively decide it’s time to address a child’s dental issues.

Some orthodontists prefer a two-stage approach to orthodontic treatment, using a dental appliance or a preliminary number of braces to begin moving the teeth. Children are typically between ages seven and 10 during this stage, and have most of their primary teeth. The second stage begins when they have most of their permanent teeth. The goal is two-fold – to modify a patient’s growth and development for optimal results; and to monitor a patient’s developing smile to minimize the potential for future permanent tooth extractions.

Orthodontists can also follow the traditional approach of putting on braces once all primary teeth have fallen out, usually starting at age 11. Where problems are minor, a single treatment phase can prove sufficient. Some severe problems, like cross-bites, overbites or severe overcrowding warrant early intervention. Scheduling an orthodontic visit early on means children can get the care they need when they need it. Your orthodontist will be able to monitor how teeth are growing in and map out the best treatment plan for your child.

Braces can help fix an imperfect smile and alleviate oral health concerns. Parents should speak to a dentist or make an appointment with an orthodontist to evaluate their children’s treatment needs.

About the Author:
Gideon Fersztman, DDS, MS is an orthodontist with Western New York Dental Group. He sees patients in Depew, Getzville and Orchard Park, and treats children and adults with both traditional metal and clear braces, as well as Invisalign for both teens and adults. To learn more call 716-343-0847 or visit http://www.wnydental.com/about/team/gfersztman.