What Age Can Kids Get Braces? The Complete Guide

Are you wondering when it’s going to be the right time to help your child get the straight teeth that they deserve? What age can kids get braces anyway?

You want your child to have the best possible experience. Getting braces too young won’t work, and if you wait too long your child will be an adult. While there’s nothing wrong with adult braces, it’s best to get it out of the way when they’re younger if it’s possible.

But how do you know when your child is the right age to get braces?

We’re here to talk about it. All kids are different, but we want to give you a general idea of when you should start looking into braces for your child. Keep reading to learn more.

How Young Is Too Young?

Not everyone can get braces. There’s a reason that you don’t see small children with braces (well, several reasons).

To qualify for orthodontic treatment, your child should have all of their adult teeth in place. It’s also helpful if their wisdom teeth have erupted, though this isn’t necessary.

If you choose to get braces for your child before they’ve lost all of their teeth (or even if it’s an accident) you’re going to run into issues. The plan for the treatment is based on the teeth that are already in the mouth. If one gets lost or grows in, a different treatment plan will be necessary.

If your child has traditional braces, the brackets will also serve as a problem.

So What If the Baby Teeth Are Gone?

When your child has all of their adult teeth, they can technically get their braces. That said, you may want to take something else into consideration.

How mature is your child?

Many younger children are irresponsible with their oral health. This is normal; they’re kids. Even as they enter their rebellious pre-teen years, they’re struggling with puberty, responsibility, and new emotions.

You need to gauge the responsibility of your specific child to see if they’re ready for a long-term orthodontic procedure.

A child who doesn’t take good care of their teeth may have trouble keeping them clean with braces. They require a lot of upkeep!

Children who opt for Invisalign may be prone to losing their aligners, or worse, breaking them. It’s also hard to remember to keep the aligners in, especially when they’re painful. It may be harder to remember to brush their teeth after taking them out to eat!

Some children even end up causing harm to their braces in a misguided attempt to remove them at home when they’re frustrated.

Your child needs to be ready for braces. Only you can know for sure how responsible your child is.

Does This Mean We Shouldn’t See an Orthodontist?

So if you don’t feel that your child is ready for braces yet, should you put off seeing the orthodontist until a better time?

Not necessarily.

As your child starts getting all of their “grown-up” teeth, you’ll be able to notice irregularities. If you notice strange spacing, overcrowding, or extreme bite issues, it’s a great idea to take them to the orthodontist (or a dentist that offers braces if there’s someone that they’re comfortable with).

When you do this, the orthodontist can see the issues that are starting to form and develop a treatment plan for the future. They can also help you manage some of the issues now.

Crooked teeth can be bad for overall oral health. Especially for children, it can be difficult to clean in between the crooked teeth if there’s crowding. Bite issues can also cause chipped teeth if they’re severe.

Your orthodontist can help you prepare for these issues ahead of time so that you don’t have to worry. They can also tell you when they think it’s going to be a good time to opt for braces for your child.

What Do We Do When They’re Ready?

When you’re finally in the market for braces for kids, your orthodontist is going to let you know. Because you’ve already acquainted your child to the process, they’re going to be more comfortable with the procedure and voicing any concerns that they have.

Depending on your child’s maturity, they may be able to start before they even hit double digits. This is ideal as long as you know that your child’s oral hygiene will be up to par.

Many older children feel insecure about their braces. When they’re pre-teens and teenagers, other children are mean and they may not receive much kindness at school.

Teenagers tend to be image-conscious, meaning that braces won’t be a welcome addition to their smile even if their teeth aren’t straight. They may see them as embarrassing or childish. They’ll likely regret it when they’re older.

When your child is done with their braces (between 1 and 4 years, usually, though there are outliers), they need to be responsible enough to wear a retainer. For some children this is difficult as it’s an extra thing to remember.

Teeth that don’t have nightly retainers have the habit of moving back into a crooked state. Your child will need to have more work done in the future.

So What Age Can Kids Get Braces? It Depends

A child is technically ready for braces when they’ve lost all of their baby teeth and all of their adult teeth have grown in. That said, it’s important that you take their maturity and oral hygiene into consideration before you take the leap into orthodontic care for your child.

If you’re already asking yourself “what age can kids get braces”, you’re probably ready to see an orthodontist for your child!

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