What is the Best Age for Braces? | Finding the Perfect Time

March 1, 2024

The vibrant smiles of children light up our world. But sometimes, parents notice their child's teeth aren't quite lining up as expected. Crowding, gaps, misalignment, or persistent thumb-sucking habits can spark concerns. Should you worry? What is the best age for braces?

Pediatric orthodontics specializes in guiding the development of healthy, beautiful smiles. While the traditional age for braces is often associated with teenagers, this field offers much more.

Does Your Child Need Braces?

Before understanding “what is the best age for braces,” you might wonder if your child will require them. It's advisable to schedule a visit with the orthodontists at Innovative Dental & Orthodontics for your child to obtain a professional recommendation.

At this stage, orthodontists can detect misalignments and other dental or jaw issues early on. Identifying potential issues allows for early intervention, making addressing dental and jaw concerns simpler as your child ages.

This initial phase of orthodontic care is often referred to as "phase one" treatment and typically involves straightforward corrections, such as:

  • Using an expander to widen the palate
  • Applying partial braces for a short duration
  • Utilizing dental appliances to encourage proper jaw growth

During this period, your orthodontist will assist children experiencing difficulties with biting, jaw clicking, premature loss of baby teeth, and other related issues. The primary objective is to ensure sufficient space in the mouth for permanent teeth to emerge correctly.

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) underscores the additional benefits of early orthodontic intervention, which extends to correcting crossbites, underbites, and other alignment issues.

Can Adults Benefit from Braces?

While orthodontic treatment is typically recommended during childhood, adults can also benefit from braces. The AAO reports that one in five orthodontic patients is over 18.

Since adult bones have ceased growing, structural adjustments may necessitate surgical intervention. Additionally, adult treatment plans may require a longer duration, averaging around two years, compared to children.

However, adult orthodontic treatment offers more than just aesthetic improvements. Correcting bite alignment can enhance chewing and swallowing functions, alleviate facial pain and stress, and reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

What is the Best Age for Braces?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends scheduling a child's first orthodontic visit by age seven or at the first sign of malocclusion. This early assessment can help identify potential issues and determine if treatment may be needed.

The best age for braces varies for each individual. However, orthodontists generally agree that pre-adolescents ages 10 to 14 are ideal. Most permanent teeth are in place during this time, and the jawbone tissue is more receptive to adjustments, making treatment more effective.

What Should You Expect While Getting Braces?

Now that you're familiar with the process of getting braces, whether for children or adults, it's beneficial to understand what to expect leading up to the big day. Guiding your child through this process can help alleviate their apprehension.

Managing Discomfort

While the procedure of having braces put on isn't typically painful, discomfort may arise afterward as your teeth begin to adjust. Over-the-counter pain medications can effectively alleviate this discomfort. Additionally, the metal brackets may cause irritation by rubbing against the inside of the mouth. Your orthodontist will provide wax to cover the affected areas in such cases. Rinsing with a saltwater solution can also help soothe any soreness.

Dietary Adjustments

Initially, your child's mouth may feel tender, making it challenging to consume certain foods that require chewing. Consider offering softer options such as yogurt, scrambled eggs, and smoothies to ease this transition. Fish, bananas, berries, potatoes, steamed vegetables, oatmeal, macaroni, and cheese are also good choices. For healthier smoothies, consider incorporating spinach or cauliflower to boost their nutritional value.

Foods to Avoid

Avoiding hard and sticky foods is crucial to prevent damage to the braces. Common culprits include popcorn, nuts, ice, hard candy, chewing gum, caramels, and corn on the cob. To minimize temptation, refrain from keeping these items at home. Opt for alternatives like nachos, hot dogs, or ice cream at the movie theater instead of popcorn.

Oral Hygiene

Maintaining good oral hygiene is essential throughout orthodontic treatment. Despite the initial adjustment period with wires and brackets, it's crucial not to neglect brushing and flossing. If traditional flossing becomes challenging, consider using water flossers or interproximal brushes recommended by orthodontists.

When brushing, angle the brush at 45 degrees towards the gum line to ensure thorough cleaning. If unable to brush immediately after eating, rinsing the mouth with water, particularly after consuming acidic or sugary foods, can help prevent cavities.

Get Braces for Your Child in County Road, Oviedo, FL

Understanding that there isn't a definitive best age for braces, the crucial step forward is ensuring regular dental check-ups for your children. Early detection of specific dental issues can potentially circumvent the necessity for braces.

Are you prepared to address your children's orthodontic concerns proactively? If so, don't hesitate to arrange an appointment with us today!


While some crowding is expected in children getting adult teeth, severe crowding may need early braces. This helps make sure there's enough room for all adult teeth to grow properly.
Extensive growth studies reveal that the upper jaw is highly adaptable and malleable in children before puberty. This unique development window presents the most favorable opportunity to effectively address crossbite concerns.
Since your kid's jaw is still growing and developing, their teeth tend to reposition more quickly than an adult's. Nevertheless, the average length of brace treatment for kids is still 15-18 months.
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