When is the Best Time to Get Braces?

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At some point, many people are faced with the fact that they need braces. Braces have many purposes for dental health, a major one being to correct jagged, misaligned, or overlapped teeth. Braces can also correct overbites or underbites. Dentists will refer to this simply as a “bad bite,” but the official name of the condition is called malocclusion. An overbite is when the upper jaw is bigger than the lower jaw, and an underbite is when the lower jaw is bigger than the upper jaw. Patients typically wear braces for about 2 years, though the time frame ultimately depends on the patient.

People can get traditional braces or ClearCorrect braces at any age, though there are certain times that are often best. It’s simply not a matter of age, but rather the dental health of that patient. ClearCorrect braces are among one of the popular options for tooth alignment, rather than getting traditional metal braces. ClearCorrect braces makes use of invisible teeth trays to align teeth. Some ages are better for treatments that others, given the fact that older patients often experience more dental problems than younger patients.

For traditional braces, it’s often suggested that patients get them at a younger age because metabolism, healing, and tooth movement is very slow in younger patients. This gives braces a better chance at correcting the dental problem. The best time to get braces is when the last permanent teeth are set, meaning they are no longer expanding through the gum tissue (excluding the wisdom teeth). The second permanent molars erupt around the age of 12, meaning 13 is the average age we see children get traditional braces. Some children might be able to get braces as early as the age of 7. Those ages between 7 and 14 are the best candidates because their facial structures are in the process of developing.

Adults can also get traditional braces or ClearCorrect braces at any age, but adults may experience issues that younger patients may not. Older patients generally experience more dental work than younger patients, such as crowns, root canals, veneers, and other dental repairs. While these types of dental work aren’t completely related to tooth movement, older patients should understand that additional dental restoration could fail or possibly result in the failure of the current orthodontic treatment. This situation is rare, however, orthodontists will likely disclose these potential risks to older patients as a precaution.

This is a guest post contributed by Daniel J. Derksen, DDS, PLLC.