When patients visit one of our North Carolina locations, they often end up asking us, “When is the right time to get braces?” If they are parents, it’s because they suspect their kids might need braces. Or, they might be considering braces for themselves, but are afraid that braces are for teens and kids, not adults.
Honestly, it’s never too late to get braces… but it is definitely better to get them early, before problems develop.
Let’s break down this question, then, for two groups of people: Children, and adults.
When is the “Right Time” to Get Braces for Children
Let’s face it, children don’t pay much attention to their teeth. This means that it is up to parents to look for signs that orthodontic work might be needed. Some classic signs include:
- Struggles with chewing or biting
- Teeth that are crowded, misplaced or blocked out
- Early, late or otherwise irregular loss of baby teeth
- A jaw that appears to shift or makes audible sounds
- Teeth that “touch” abnormally, or do not touch at all
- Unusual proportions between the teeth or jaw and the rest of the face
Some of these signs are more obvious than others. Thus, even if you suspect a problem, it’s a wise idea to see an orthodontist. Often, the family dentist will be the one to recommend a visit–in that case, heed the advice and make an appointment.
(Do you live in Raleigh, Cary, Durham, Greensboro, or another metro area in North Carolina or Southern Virginia? Come in for a free consultation to see if your child needs braces, here at MyOrthodontist.)
As far as age goes, there’s no specific age at which a child should first visit the orthodontist. Some kids go when they’re 6, some kids go when they’re 10, and some have that first visit when they are well into their teens. Many orthodontists say that the ideal time to see an orthodontist is when the child’s permanent teeth start coming in, around 7 or 8 years old.
So, the question of “when is the right time to get braces?” is not a matter of age, so much as a matter of need. Everyone develops differently, and the point at which your child will need braces will be different from every other child’s.
“When Do I Need Braces?”
Importantly, braces are not just for kids and teens. Adults, too, can benefit from orthodontic work. In fact, The American Association of Orthodontists estimates that one in five orthodontic patients is over the age of 18.
Adults most commonly need braces because they didn’t get their orthodontic issues corrected as a kid. Over time, those issues became worse. All of the signs that children need braces, listed above, go for adults too. If you are thinking of braces for yourself, there are a few more signs you can look for:
- Discomfort chewing
- Regularly getting food stuck in your teeth/mouth
- Speech issues
- Excessive snoring/waking during the night (misalignment can cause restricted airways during sleep)
Of course, the main reason most adults seek to get braces is because they are self-conscious about their smile. And a beautiful smile is the most obvious benefit of orthodontics!
That said, there are a number of health reasons why you might want to try braces as well: Crooked or crowded teeth are difficult to clean and maintain, and this in turn can lead to tooth decay, gum disease or tooth loss. Poor jaw or tooth alignment can cause abnormal wear of your teeth, an inability to chew efficiently and, as a result, excessive stress on gum tissue and the bone that support your teeth. In short, getting your smile corrected can have long lasting health benefits.
Let Our Team at MyOrthodontist Guide You Through the Process
The Time is Right When You Find an Orthodontist You Trust
Orthodontics is a long-term relationship, not to mention a pretty personal interaction. Not only should you like him or her (and the staff), but your orthodontist needs to have adequate orthodontic experience and training.
MyOrthodontist’s orthodontic specialists are all members of the American Association of Orthodontists. They have each taken an additional three years of post-graduate work in orthodontics beyond the four years of dental school required to practice general dentistry. So, we feel pretty confident that every MyOrthodontist orthodontist brings the needed skills to the table.
We understand that convenience matters, too. That’s why we have many offices available throughout North Carolina and Southern Virginia, including major cities like Cary, Durham, Greensboro, Mount Airy, Raleigh, and more. This way, you can find the location nearest to you and easily make an appointment for a free consultation.
So, if you find yourself wondering when is the right time to get braces, for you or for your child, it’s time to talk to a professional. Remember, the earlier the treatment, the better– so stop hesitating, and schedule your appointment today!