When Do You Need Braces & How Long Do You Need Them For?

Gentle Dental

A Pretty Smiling Teen Girl With Braces

Whether you are embarrassed by your smile or experience discomfort due to structural issues, modern orthodontics can help. But what are the requirements for braces, and when is the best time to get them? Here’s how to know if you should get braces along with all the facts surrounding orthodontic treatment. 

How To Know If You Should Get Braces

When do people get braces? Usually when they want to improve their jaw function or orofacial appearance. Generally speaking, orthodontic treatments are effective at correcting common issues such as:

  • Overbites
  • Underbites
  • Incorrect jaw position
  • Crowded teeth
  • Certain disorders of the jaw joints.

So, if you have one or more of these issues, when should braces be put on? In most instances, it’s better to get braces at a younger age, but it’s also important to wait until a child’s mouth is ready. 

What Age Do Children Get Braces?

Patients can benefit from braces at just about any age; however, it’s usually best to wait until a child’s adult teeth have fully erupted. With this in mind, what age do you need to be to get braces? Although it depends on the child, most are ready between the ages of 10 and 14. This is a key time when the mouth and head are still growing, and the teeth are more sensitive to straightening. 

At the same time, braces are not just for children. These days, more and more adults are wearing braces to improve their smiles and ease oral discomfort. So, what is a good age for braces? While younger is generally considered better, the actual answer is any age, as long as the adult teeth have fully erupted. 

If You Have an Overbite, Do You Need Braces?

Many people decide to get braces to correct aesthetic and/or comfort issues relating to an overbite. In most cases, braces can effectively correct a troublesome overbite; however, in rare instances, surgery may be necessary. If you are concerned about your overbite, consider meeting with a local dentist to get a professional evaluation.

Should I Get Braces?

There are a number of issues that can cause a person to require braces, including:

  • Small mouths: Because they leave less room for teeth to grow, smaller mouths can promote crowding once permanent teeth begin growing.
  • Tongue Thrusting: Some kids push their tongues forward against the lips, which can cause an open bite, a protrusion of teeth or other issues.
  • Extra teeth: Some people develop extra teeth, which can cause crowding. Other people suffer traumatic injuries or untimely tooth loss, which can also cause dental issues.
  • Misaligned jaw structure: This can affect the bite and cause difficulty chewing. It can also contribute to Temporomandibular Joint Disorder.
  • Bad habits: Some people may experience alignment issues, when they engage in thumb sucking during and beyond infancy.

While accidents and bad habits can cause alignment problems, most people inherit their dental issues. Just like every other part of the body, genetics play a key role in determining whether our teeth will be straight or crooked. If your parents needed braces, there’s a good chance you will too. 

How Long Will I Need Braces For?

This depends on your individual needs and treatment plan. Most patients will need to wear their braces for between 18 to 30 months. The older you are and the more complicated your spacing issue, the longer you will need to wear your braces. You will also need to wear a retainer for a few months up to two years to keep tissues aligned. Some people have to wear permanent retainers to prevent their bites from returning to their previous positions.

Do Braces Hurt?

Most people experience no discomfort when they are getting their braces. That said, to effectively move teeth into the desired position, interconnecting wires must be tightened at every visit. This involves applying mild pressure on the bands or brackets to shift the jaw or teeth. Depending on your unique spacing issues, you may experience soreness after each tightening. This discomfort is usually mild, however, and goes away within a few hours or a couple days.

Will I Need to Have Teeth Pulled for Braces?

If the dentist determines that your teeth are too crowded to provide adequate room for shifting, he or she may recommend that you have one or more teeth extracted. This will create adequate room for your teeth to settle in the desired position. Thanks to modern dental treatments, extractions are usually painless with some mild soreness hours after the procedures.

Who Do I Go To For Braces?

Most people rely on their family general dentist to coordinate their orthodontic treatment plans, which will involve examinations, diagnosis and corrective procedures. In many instances, a general dentist will refer clients to an orthodontist; however, this is not always the case.

How Much Do Braces Cost?

The cost of braces will depend on the treatment needed, insurance coverage, type of braces, and location. In most cases, insurance will not cover the cost of braces for adults; however, you will need a thorough evaluation with your orthodontist to know for sure.

Final Word On Braces Options

When can you get braces? While it usually depends on the child, there are some general timelines that apply to children. Adults can usually get braces at any age, but you’ll need an evaluation to get expert advice on your specific situation.

Still need more information about orthodontic treatments? From color options and braces-friendly meals to flossing and travel tips, our braces guide has everything you need. View this helpful resource and make an appointment at your local Gentle Dental where our experts can help you decide which orthodontic options are best for your needs. 

Get closer to your perfect smile. Book your next appointment at a Gentle Dental location near you.