These days, it almost seems that braces are an inevitable rite of passage for kids, marking their entrance into their teenage years. While not every child needs braces, for those who do, guiding their teeth into the right position early on will serve them well for years to come.
Here at Glow Orthodontics, Dr. Nitika Mittal provides comprehensive orthodontics at our three Virginia locations in Woodbridge, Manassas, and Fredericksburg, and she works with parents to come up with a timeline that suits everyone’s goals. And speaking of parents, we also offer great solutions for adults who may have missed out on teen braces.
Ultimately, there is a better time to tackle crowded teeth or poor bites, but braces can help straighten teeth at any age.
Getting to teeth early
While you should start to bring your child to a dentist at the first signs of erupting baby teeth, it will be years before you know how their secondary teeth will come in. Typically, we recommend that you bring your child to see us between the ages of seven and 14, which is when most of your child’s 28 adult teeth erupt and take their positions.
It’s at this point that Dr. Mittal can assess your child’s bite or whether crowding may lead to problems down the road, including accelerated tooth decay since teeth are hard to clean properly when they’re too close together.
If your child has malocclusion, meaning the upper and lower teeth don’t meet up as they should, it can have an effect on how they chew and speak, as well as the cosmetic concerns that come with an over-, cross-, or underbite.
In addition, the two tiny hinges on either side of your child’s jaw — the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) — may be affected by malocclusion, leading to TMJ disorder, which can be painful.
By tackling any issues with your child’s teeth shortly after they erupt, we can take advantage of the fact that their jawbones aren’t firmly set around the new teeth, making movement easier.
Getting braces early on can also be viewed as an investment in their future, giving them straight teeth that contribute to a winning smile for years to come.
While kids may not be thrilled about the idea of braces, the fact is that about 80% of teenagers in North America are seeing an orthodontist, which means they’ll be in good, and abundant, company.
There are also a fair number of options when it comes to braces, allowing you and your child to choose one that best suits their lifestyle, as well as your budget.
At Glow Orthodontics, we offer:
- Traditional metal braces
- Self-ligating braces, which don’t need rubber bands
- Clear ceramic braces that aren’t as obvious as metal braces
- Clear aligners
- Lingual braces which are affixed to the back sides of teeth
During your visits, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of each choice, giving you the facts you need to make an informed decision.
It’s never too late
If you find yourself looking into the mirror, wishing your parents had been as diligent as you are about correcting your child’s teeth, it’s not too late to remedy the oversight. While few adults want to walk around with a mouthful of braces, we have some great techniques that straighten your teeth quickly and efficiently, with minimal fuss.
To start, clear aligners work extremely well in straightening your teeth and, as the name implies, they’re nearly invisible. The custom-made aligners fit over your teeth and you can remove them for eating and brushing. Every week or two you receive new aligners that keep your teeth moving in the right direction.
We also offer accelerated orthodontics, which can straighten your teeth inside of a year, almost 50% faster than traditional options. Using Propel® orthodontic devices, we stimulate your bone and gums to allow more movement in less time.
In answer to the question we pose in the title — “Is there a right age to get braces?” — the best answer is yes, and no. It’s always a great idea to tackle a problem in its early stages, but thanks to new options in braces, we can correct your teeth with braces at any age.
If you’d like to explore braces for your child, or for yourself, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. Or you can fill out the form on this website to request an appointment.