How old do you have to be to get braces? Is there an age minimum?

It’s a valid question! If your child hasn’t received his or her first orthodontic exam yet, how do you know when to start orthodontic treatment or schedule your child’s first exam? 

Contrary to popular belief, children should receive their first exam before all of their permanent teeth have emerged. According to the AAO (American Association of Orthodontists), the optimal time is around age 7.

Why should your child receive an orthodontic evaluation when they don’t have all of their permanent teeth yet?

Our orthodontists, Dr. Wiewiora and Dr. Dunn, are highly experienced in assessing growing mouths and detecting child orthodontic issues before they fully develop. Many orthodontic problems are rooted in the alignment or width of the jaw. All of the permanent teeth do not need to be fully erupted for our orthodontists to identify these problems.

In fact, it’s often better to treat alignment problems before all of the permanent teeth and jaws have fully developed. If we recognize that your child would benefit from early orthodontic treatment to prevent aid in proper growth of the jaw and eruption of permanent teeth, then we will make that recommendation.

 

Can a 7-year-old get braces?

Yes, a 7 year old can get braces! Although it’s beneficial to receive an orthodontic exam at this age, this doesn’t necessarily mean your child will get braces at age 7.  

Early orthodontic treatment is most effective when it’s broken up into two phases that compliment the natural development of the teeth and jaws. 

Our goal during the first evaluation is to assess the skeletal and dental relationship, and determine its relation to your child’s chronological and dental age. Our orthodontists can detect problems, like a narrow palate, missing teeth, asymmetries or a malocclusion (misalignment), around age 7. 

 

What happens if my child needs treatment?

During your child’s orthodontic exam, if we determine that a problematic condition is present or will soon arise, we may suggest that they begin phase 1 treatment. This may include an orthodontic appliance, like a palatal expander, to correct a crossbite or partial brackets to create a sufficient amount of space in the mouth for all permanent teeth to grow. 

Using appliances around this age is ideal, because they work alongside the natural development of the teeth and jaws. This can reduce or even eliminate the need for future treatment. (As some conditions progress and the bones are further developed, jaw surgery may be necessary treatment. If we intervene with treatment before the condition progresses, your child may only require braces to treat the condition.) 

Once there’s enough space for permanent teeth to grow, we may determine that braces at age 8 or 9 would be beneficial. Phase 1 treatment generally begins around the ages of 7 to 10, and phase 2 treatment often follows once most of the permanent teeth have erupted. Every child develops at a different rate, so your child may be ready for an orthodontic evaluation around age 9, or a little later in the early teen years—it all depends.

 

We recommend the right treatment – at the right time.

Our orthodontists will suggest the right treatment at the right time for your individual child and their needs. Sometimes that means letting young patients mature a bit before we start treatment, putting braces on over multiple appointments, or holding off on treatment until your child will experience the maximum benefit. 

Your child’s treatment plan will be 100% personalized for him or her. No two children are the same, and no two smiles are the same! 

Whether your child gets braces at age 7 or braces at 13 (if he or she needs treatment), we only want what’s best for your child’s smile, health and self-esteem. 

 

Schedule your child’s complimentary orthodontic evaluation today!

Many kids may not need orthodontic treatment, but all kids should receive an early orthodontic evaluation! 

If you suspect your child may need braces, don’t hesitate to reach out to us! Our orthodontists will perform a comprehensive evaluation for your child at no-cost to you. Interceptive orthodontics can guide healthy teeth and jaw development, modify harmful oral habits, and help adjust bite problems before they become serious—when it comes to your child’s dental health, the best solutions are early ones!

Our friendly team is here to guide your family through your treatment process, from your child’s very first visit, to their last appointment. If you’re looking for a top orthodontist in Lake Mary or Longwood, we’d love to meet your family! Request a complimentary exam for your child today.