One of the most common questions we hear is “What is the best age to get braces?” or “Am I too old to straighten my teeth?”
The great news is, there is no age “too old” to straighten teeth. As long as they are healthy, we can move teeth to their ideal position. That being said there is an optimal age to begin orthodontic treatment and that is where kids can benefit. When we have growth to work with, there are more treatment options available.
We might be a little biased, but we believe braces are a wonderful thing… at any age! It’s almost never too late to get braces, and there are both pros and cons no matter what. Here are some pros and cons for getting braces as an adolescent vs. an adult.
Get braces for adolescents
• When kids are growing, their jaws often grow at different rates, which can throw the bite off and cause side-effects such as long-term wear on the teeth. Starting treatment early is optimal to correct this most easily.
• Bone is less dense during the growth phase so treatment can be faster.
• There are more treatment options available and this proactive approach can help to avoid things like surgery.
• The earlier the teeth are straightened, the easier it is to keep them clean. Straightening teeth at an early age can prevent unnecessary decay because the kids can clean them effectively.
• There is less stigma toward getting braces when you’re younger. Braces are a common sight on kids in middle school and high school; it can even be considered “cool!”
• Kids are more likely to be covered under insurance benefit plans.
• Younger patients may need help and reminders to clean their teeth. Some parents worry about this, however, at South Surrey Smiles, we have a rewards system to reward the kids for good brushing and it is a great incentive!
• Some snacks like popcorn should be avoided while wearing braces to prevent damaging the braces.
• Compliance issues can lead to longer treatment times if the kids are not accountable to their commitment to the orthodontic treatment (such as wearing elastic bands or breaking lots of brackets off by eating hard and sticky foods which are to be avoided).
Get braces for adults
• Mature patients might be more responsible with their orthodontic programs and tend to keep their teeth cleaner.
• Many adults have a hard time bringing themselves to wear braces, however, it is more common these days! South Surrey Smiles offers clear braces and Invisalign for those who are concerned about the appearance of braces.
• Depending on the condition of the teeth and their surrounding bone and tissue, we may need to bring another specialist onto the team (such as a periodontist or an oral surgeon). This is dependent on each case.
Keep in mind, the above points are generalizations and we have excellent patients in all age groups. No matter what age you are, braces are (almost) always an option.
As for whether or not braces will be effective — that doesn’t change with age. Braces will still “work” on older patients just as well as younger patients. Teeth will move, there will be some soreness and tenderness, and a beautiful smile will be the result. No matter what age a patient is.
The pros and cons for at different ages has more to do with the way a person feels about themselves and their journey. But at South Surrey Smiles, we think it’s brave and exciting at any age!
For the proactive patients that want to make sure all options can be considered, we recommend that all kids are screened at age 7. We are happy to provide free consultations and growth monitoring in order to deliver the best advice and to educate you.
South Surrey Smiles provides the following braces treatment
If you would like to book a consultation, contact our smiling staff at South Surrey Smiles at 604-542-5420. We look forward to meeting you!
Dr. Lesley Williams is a Certified Specialist in Orthodontics. She grew up in Victoria, BC with her parents and two sisters.
After being awarded her Doctor of Medical Dentistry (DMD) degree in 1989, Dr. Williams then spent six years as a dentist in general practice before deciding that she wanted to further her education by undertaking three extra years of highly specialized training in orthodontics. With her Masters in Science (Orthodontics) degree under her belt, she went on to sit the Orthodontic Specialty Fellowship exams through the Royal College of Dentists of Canada. To date, her status as an active leader in the orthodontic profession means that she holds the following qualifications and positions:
- Certified Specialist in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics
- Fellow of the Royal College of Dentists of Canada
- Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics
- Examiner for the Royal College of Dentists of Canada and the American Board of Orthodontics.
- Former president of the Pacific Coast Society of Orthodontists (representing 2900 orthodontists from the 4 western Canadian provinces and 8 western American states).
- Active member of the Edward H. Angle Society of Orthodontists.