Oral care is a lifelong journey. If you treat your teeth well they will stay strong and healthy your entire life. While daily brushing and flossing are critical for dental health, orthodontic treatments like braces are often necessary for teeth to look good, feel great and function well. In this post we’ll answer some frequently asked questions about braces, including when to get them and why they’re a key oral care treatment to preserve your teeth for a lifetime.
What is the Best Age to Start Seeing an Orthodontist?
Orthodontists typically recommend starting regular checkups around age seven to determine what corrective actions, if any, might help children avoid oral surgery, prevent further damage or simply eliminate jaw pain or tooth discomfort. Establishing a regular practice of visiting the orthodontist will make it easier and less stressful to plan each phase of treatment and prepare for the next steps. Oral care is no different than other common health practices, and the age-old saying holds true: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
What is the Most Common Age to Get Braces?
Experts generally advise that the best age to get braces is actually a range between 10 and 14 years old. This is the preferred age range to start braces because most baby teeth have been replaced by adult teeth, and the underdeveloped jaw bone will be more receptive to teeth movement. The exact age at which an orthodontist will recommend depends on a number of factors, and some orthodontists will recommend less involved “interceptive” treatments at younger ages until braces are appropriate.
Is there an Age Limit for Getting Braces?
While many patients start orthodontic treatments when they’re young, there is definitely no age limit for when patients can start braces. In fact, the American Association of Orthodontists has reported a steadily growing trend of older adults getting braces and other orthodontic treatments. However, there are a few key things that orthodontists look for when determining a patient’s viability for treatment:
- General tooth health (e.g., strength, density, level of decay, etc.).
- Little to no risk of tooth or gum damage during the course of treatment.
- The presence of gum disease.
- The extent of prior dental work.
Skilled orthodontists can work with teeth in different conditions, but the best advice is simply to schedule a consultation so that you and your orthodontist can understand the state of your oral health and determine a path forward.
What are the Oral Health Benefits of Braces?
Although the reasons that adults get braces vary from cosmetic to health related, the benefits can be significant. Inconvenient and sometimes downright painful issues like crowding, gaps between teeth, open bite, and overbites or underbites only get worse over time. A number of harmful effects can occur as teeth move over the years, including disproportionate wear on overexposed teeth, reduced effectiveness of teeth brushing due to crowding, damage to the mouth palette, gum disease and more. Correcting misaligned bites and teeth can significantly improve oral health and bolster the effectiveness of daily tooth brushing and dental cleanings, thereby preventing tooth decay and gum disease.
Client Testimonial | Pam’s Story
As Pam McCormick shares, she never anticipated getting braces at her age (70), but after speaking with Dr. Oppenhuizen, she understands the value and the health implications:
“I thought there’s no way at my age that I’m going to get braces…but once [Dr. Oppenhuizen] explained to me that it was a huge part of taking care of my teeth to be able to keep them as long as I need them, which would be as long as I live, I agreed.”
And who knew that a new smile might come along with new friends? That’s what Pam has discovered in working with our office:
“Every time I come to the office, they’re very friendly at the front desk. Everyone I’ve worked with as far as the orthodontic techs have been very friendly and helpful…I feel like I’ve met a whole new group of friends.”
At the end of the day, it’s not about appearances for Pam, but it’s the peace of mind that comes with keeping her teeth healthy for her lifetime:
“As I anticipate getting my braces off I’m looking forward to having a smile that doesn’t show crooked teeth, but I’m also looking forward to knowing that I’m going to be keeping my teeth for the remainder of my life.”
Keep smiling Pam, it’s an honor to serve you and we’re excited to see your masterpiece smile!