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What Is the Ideal Age for Braces?

It depends on the child, but usually between 12-14 years old
Read Time: 4 minutes
Dec 5, 2022

Although there are plenty of adults who straighten their teeth, getting braces is often seen as a rite of passage for children and adolescents. But what, exactly, is the best age to get braces? Is there a best age or does it not matter at all? The short answer is that it depends on the person. However, here are some questions to consider in determining what is the best age for braces when it comes to either you or your child.

What Is the Optimal Time for Braces?

a young teenage girl pointing to the braces on her teeth

The best time for braces is after all but the last baby teeth have fallen out and been replaced by adult teeth. The last baby teeth to come out are usually molars. While it varies depending on the child, usually this occurs between the ages of 12 and 14. The reason for this is that most of the permanent teeth will be in but there’s still some room for growth in the jaw. This is why most people get braces as teenagers rather than as young children or adults.

Does the Age of Your Child Matter?

Age is actually less important than dental development when it comes to braces. Some children end up with an almost full set of adult teeth sooner than others and may therefore be ready for braces earlier.

Does Your Child Have All of Their Adult Teeth?

More important than age is whether or not your child has most of their adult teeth. Generally, it’s expected that all adult teeth will come in by age 13, but it’s different for every child.

At What Age do Children Start to Get Adult Teeth?

a young Asian girl with a missing bottom tooth holding the tooth that she’s just lost in her hand

Adult teeth start to come in usually around age six. The first permanent teeth to come in are generally the back molars, which grow in behind baby molars rather than replacing them, and the front teeth, which do replace lost baby teeth. It can take about 5 or 6 years after that for all of the permanent teeth to come in.

When Do Children Usually Have All Their Permanent Teeth?

a teenager with braces sitting in an orthodontist’s chair for an appointment

Typically, children will have all of their adult teeth in by the age of 12 or 13. However, some children will get all of their permanent teeth much sooner. It’s not uncommon for a 9-year-old to have all of their adult teeth, for example. This means that your child might be ready for braces at a younger age than other children. At the same time, a 15-year-old could still have some baby teeth and would therefore not be ready for braces.

At What Age Should a Child First Visit the Orthodontist?

It’s recommended by the American Association of Orthodontists that every child see an orthodontist for an initial screening and evaluation by the age of 7. This visit is mostly just to check your child’s teeth and to make sure that there isn’t a problem that could necessitate braces earlier than normal.

Can My Dentist Perform an Orthodontic Evaluation?

a young girl sitting in a dentist’s chair with the dentist showing her and her mother a chart

All orthodontists are dentists, but not all dentists are orthodontists. Being an orthodontist requires several years of specialized schooling on top of regular dental school. This means that while it’s possible your dentist may be able to perform such an evaluation, chances are good that they may not have the expertise to do so. Your dentist may recommend that you take your child to an orthodontist, but it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with one even if they don’t.

Is It Bad to Have Braces Too Young?

Typically, it’s not recommended to have braces prior to all adult teeth coming in. This is because even if you straighten baby teeth, anything done to the baby teeth won’t carry over to the adult teeth when they come in. Then, they would have to get braces twice because the same treatment would most likely have to be done to the adult teeth as well.

What Orthodontic Treatment Can Young Children Get?

Unless there’s a major problem that’s negatively impacting health or daily life. For example, if tooth placement is causing pain or making eating difficult, then an orthodontist may recommend early braces to correct that problem. Sometimes, orthodontic treatment for younger children just involves monitoring the growth of their mouth and teeth instead of braces.

Is It Bad to Have Braces Too Old?

a woman putting Invisalign into her mouth to straighten her teeth

There’s not really a maximum age limit for braces. Once all adult teeth are in, you can get braces at any time. Many adults get either braces or Invisalign to straighten their teeth, either for the first time or to re-straighten teeth that have moved back. Even though the optimal age is typically between 12 and 14, it’s not impossible to straighten your teeth at an older age and many thousands of people do so successfully.

When Is the Best Time for Adults to Get Braces?

If you’re getting braces as an adult, don’t wait. The sooner you straighten your teeth, the longer you can enjoy the results. Your teeth won’t straighten on their own if you wait (and in fact will most likely get worse) and you’ll just spend more time disliking your teeth. On top of that, there are oral health problems that can occur as you age, which could make getting braces more complicated.

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For informational purposes only.