Although braces are likely the last thing on your mind when your little one’s teeth begin to emerge around the age of 6 months old, a seasoned local dentist will be on guard and looking for signs from that very initial appointment by age 1. Baby teeth are intended to create a clear path for permanent teeth and if severely misaligned, it can ultimately affect the eruption of adult teeth. It is much easier to correct issues like these in a child than it will be later down the road. While your dentist surely will not have the braces talk with the parent of an infant or toddler, Phase 1 of Orthodontics begins as early as 7-10 years old while children still have both baby and permanent teeth.
When are braces necessary?
Braces are used to move teeth into an ideal position and align how they bite together. One of the more visual benefits of braces is a straighter smile, but cosmetics are not the sole purpose for getting them. (In fact, some actually prefer their crooked teeth!). There are certain dental issues that can interfere with your overall quality of life that can be addressed with orthodontic treatment. Some reasons braces may become necessary include but are not limited to:
-Sleep Apnea caused by mouth breathing or snoring
-Difficulty eating and/or chewing
If you fall into any one of these categories, orthodontic treatment could be an avenue to explore with your dentist.
What is the best age for braces?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children should be seen for an initial orthodontic consultation no later than age 7. As mentioned above, this is an age where baby teeth begin to fall out and make way for the eruption of permanent teeth. Age 7 is typically a bit young for braces but it provides an opportunity for your dentist or Orthodontist to start preventative and corrective measures in areas that otherwise may lead to braces in the future. At Maestri Family Dentistry we do certain x-rays in our office that give insight to crucial information such as bone growth, wisdom teeth discovery, and other elements that allow us to treat any disturbances in jaw growth or tooth development.
Typically speaking, orthodontic treatment would start once all baby teeth have been lost and most, if not all, adult teeth have grown in. This is usually around age 11-14 when kids are responsible enough to manage the daily care required for braces. They are also better able to clearly communicate when something is painful and can understand certain foods and habits to avoid damage to their braces.
How long does braces treatment last?
The length of time you can expect to wear braces will be dependent upon several factors such as your age, severity of the issues being corrected, and the method of orthodontic treatment. For example, if you are a good candidate for clear aligners like Invisalign, treatment can be as short as 6 months. While your orthodontist can give you a much better timeline for your unique case, most patients can expect to wear braces for at least 12 months, with the average being between 18 and 30 months. If you are looking to speed up the process, carefully follow treatment instructions, maintain proper oral hygiene, and practice proper eating habits. While there is no guarantee this will get your braces off sooner than your Orthodontist originally suggested, it increases chances as well as creates some good habits!
While the best time for orthodontic treatment may be for children, it’s never too late to correct your smile! Some adults do not develop issues that would require braces until their older years, or orthodontics may not have been an option when they were a child. Oftentimes, dental problems like underbits or overbites left untreated do not cause issues well into your adult life. Adult orthodontics is becoming much more popular. In fact, according to Humana Dental Insurance, as many as 25% of the 4 million people in the United States that wear braces are adults! Some good news if you are an adult considering braces is that there are many more options available to adults than the standard metal braces that used to be the only option. There are many alternatives to metal braces available to adults including Invisalign, clear braces, and lingual braces. To learn more about each of these options, view our previous post “Orthodontic Treatment – Alternatives to Metal Braces”.
Whether you are looking to schedule an initial orthodontic consultation for your child or for yourself, Maestri Family Dentistry is the place to go. Not only are we a local family dentist in Lafayette LA, but Dr. Maestri has a passion for Cosmetic Dentistry. She received several awards for outstanding academic performance in Cosmetic Dentistry and continues advanced training when she can. Contact us for your consultation today!