One of the most important questions parents ask us is – “when’s the best time for braces?” It’s also one of the most important questions I ask myself, about each of my patients! I’m never in a hurry to get the braces on. I’m eager to get you a great smile – a great result and I want to get there in the quickest and most comfortable way for you.
One of the best ways to make orthodontic treatment easier and more successful is getting the braces started at the right time.
So when’s the best time for braces? It depends on a few important things.
1. How much crowding do we have? If we have lots of crowding – bigger teeth, smaller jaws – we’ll need to make space for the teeth. That usually means starting braces before all the baby teeth are lost, but I don’t want to start too soon. Usually the best time is near the end of losing the baby teeth. And that time usually comes with lots of notice so no surprises. It’s always our first choice to straighten your teeth without taking any teeth out for the best result and most comfort. It’s rare that any adult teeth need to come out. We can almost always make the space for all of your adult teeth. We want to plan for that.
2. Is jaw growth an issue? Some jaw growth problems are best treated later, while some are treated better at a younger age.
3. Is the person early or late in the tooth and jaw growth process? Some nine-year-old girls are ready to start their braces because they have lots of crowding and they’ve lost most or even all of their baby teeth. Some fourteen-year-olds still have baby teeth and waiting can make good sense.
4. And the most important thing is the person attached to the teeth – YOU! If you’re uncomfortable with your crooked teeth or if you’re self-conscious about your smile, it can make sense to get your braces started earlier. It’s up to you and your comfort.
I want you to get a great smile with braces as quickly as possible. That’s why I love to see you at a younger age so we can see what’s going on with your teeth and watch to see how things develop. It helps in the planning for the best timing. For younger children, putting braces on too soon can lead to having to wear braces for longer than needed without producing a better result.
So when’s the best time for braces? It depends on you and your teeth. I want to plan with you and your family for the timing of braces that makes the most sense for you and your situation.