What Age Are Braces Necessary?


All of the research regarding malocclusion (a misaligned bite) and the need for braces shows that the best age for treatment is between 8 and 14 years old. Just because that is the “best” age does not mean that it’s the only age range that your orthodontist can treat you. There are simply some good reasons why that age range works best. People of any age can have a misaligned bite or crooked teeth corrected with the help of their orthodontist. These issues simply have an impact on the amount of time and the types of treatments that will work best. Here is a closer look at why the pre-teen and early teen years are the best age for braces.

Orthodontic Treatment is Not Just Cosmetic

Consider a young woman who wants to get her teeth straightened in time for her wedding photos. You might think that her bride braces are a purely cosmetic treatment. These invisible braces can start the process of straightening her teeth, but there are also very important health benefits that braces can help her achieve.

Having crooked teeth or a misaligned bite can make it more difficult for a person to speak, to chew their food, or it can even impact their ability to breathe properly. These issues can have long-term consequences if they go uncorrected. So, yes, there is a cosmetic aspect to braces. But the other side of the coin is that braces are correcting a problem that will get worse over time. Even if you do not fall within the “best” age for treatment with braces, you should not let it hold you back. Orthodontic treatments can work on adults who are well past the preferred 8 to 14 age range.

The Orthodontic Process Starts Early

A child doesn’t suddenly need to get braces when they turn 8 (or 13). We recommend that all children, even if they appear to have perfectly straight teeth, should be brought for their first orthodontic appointment by no later than age 7. Most kids will have a mixture of permanent teeth and baby teeth by that age.

Orthodontists are trained to examine a child’s teeth and determine what is going to happen when the rest of the adult teeth erupt. They can predict if things are likely to go smoothly, or if the child will need braces later on. Will their teeth be “crowded” in the mouth when they come in? Will some teeth come in crooked? Will issues with their teeth or jaw cause a malocclusion? Can early prevention reduce the amount of time that they will need treatment with braces? All of these questions can be determined with very good accuracy when an orthodontist examines your child around age 7.

The “Best” Age for Braces

As we mentioned, 8 to 14 is the typical age when it is “best” for a patient to be treated with braces. Why is this?

Before a child has fully gone through puberty, the connective tissues in their mouth and their bone structure are more pliable. It is easier to make dramatic adjustments to the teeth when they are this age. And an easier treatment process means that you will be wearing braces for a shorter amount of time. The average amount of time that patients undergo treatment with braces is about 22 months. Most people would agree that it would be preferable to adjust the teeth in just 12 months, however.

When a person gets older and they have all of their adult teeth, bone structure and connective tissues can be more stubborn when adjusting with braces. This will translate into a longer amount of time required for successful treatment. This is why we try to get braces on young patients during that 8 to 14 window. It achieves the best outcomes in the shortest amount of time for most people!

Call Us for an Appointment

If it’s time for your child’s first appointment with the orthodontist, or you are an adult who thinks you might benefit from braces or Invisalign, give us a call at Valderrama Orthodontics. We’ll get you scheduled for an appointment and determine the best option for helping you achieve your smile goals.