Tooth Talk with Brinkley Dental Group – Is there a “Best Age” for Braces?

Braces often form an integral part of a patient’s oral health care strategy and they’ve come a long way from the days when many of us grew up and braces could often be cumbersome and painful. Today’s braces come in a variety of colours, tend to be a tad more comfortable and some are even invisible! Despite these advances, one question we still get asked quite frequently however is this one: Is there a best age for braces? If you have a teen or tween, or even if you’re an older adult curious about correcting your smile, read on!

The short answer is ANY age is the right age for braces, if both you and your dental care practitioner think they are necessary or preferred for either health or cosmetic reasons. That said, a Dentist or Orthodontist wouldn’t likely consider placing braces on baby teeth and the most common age at which most orthodontia care begins is between ages 10 through 14. This is quite simply due primarily to typical growth patterns in young adults. During this time, the head and mouth are still developing and baby teeth have usually all fallen out. Adult teeth are considered conducive to straightening although this can happen at any age. Braces are often used to treat a patient’s facial appearance and/or correct potentially serious issues like a severe over or underbite; crooked teeth, crowded teeth and even chronic jaw joint disorders. More and more adults are considering braces for appearances sake or to correct long-standing concerns that were not addressed in childhood. Some have benefits coverage enabling them to consider braces as a cosmetic treatment – perhaps assisting with an adult’s sense of self-esteem if teeth have long been an area of embarrassment for them. Here are some other things you might want to consider, if you are considering braces:

  • You’ll need to work together with your Dentist and an Orthodontist to determine the best course of action for your particular area of concern.
  • You may need to have a tooth (or teeth) removed by your Dentist in order for braces to be effective.
  • It will become more important than ever that you maintain a good oral health care routine and schedule regular visits with your Dentist. No point in setting those pearly whites straight if they end up stained or damaged from a lack of care. Food trapped behind braces, forgetting to floss, and plaque build-up can all cause damage and/or stained teeth.
  • Your teeth and gums must be strong, in other words your oral health should be good. Persons with weakened gums and/or poor dental health are not considered good candidates for orthodontia.
  • Braces take time. No matter your age, be prepared to invest an average of between 18 – 24 months for braces to be effective. This is because the pressure applied is gentle and slow, allowing your teeth to move over time and new bone tissue to solidify keeping the teeth aligned in their new position!
  • It’s estimated that these days, 1 in 5 patients are over the age of 18 when starting orthodontic treatment! Many folks even well into their 40’s and 50’s are choosing to treat things like a long-disliked gap between their teeth or braces are recommended to help address a concern that has arisen as a result of a missing tooth or the ongoing pain of something like TMJ. (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder)
  • Finally, it is important to consider that wearing a retainer for part or all of the time, after braces are removed, may form an integral part of your after care. This could be something you have to do for several years, or even forever! You’ll want to discuss this with your dental care team.

The Brinkley Dental Team is known as the gentle dentist and our practice is family-friendly. That means we see a lot of patients who may need orthodontic care or are looking for cosmetic dentistry. Ask us about treatments for teeth whitening (often people choose to have treatment after braces!) crowns, veneers and yes – whether you should consider braces to help address your ongoing oral health concerns. We’ll help support you before, during and after orthodontic care at ANY age! Contact us today and in the meantime, “don’t forget to be a BFF  with your mouth and brush that smile!”