Braces and Baby Teeth

Baby teeth don't have to become an impediment to get braces and a straight smile.

Regardless of age, if an orthodontist told you that you would need braces, the first thought that comes to mind is what is the best time to start your treatment. Generally speaking, teens and adults who are getting braces for themselves will think about times of the year when they are less obligated to meet with new people to show their smiles as little as possible. Regarding results, however, what is the best age to get braces, and is it even possible to go through the process if you are already an adult?

What’s the Earliest a Child Can Get Braces?

While some kids can start their braces at just 8 years old, it’s not common. The American Association of Orthodontists(AAO) recommends that kids should have their first orthodontic check-up at 7 years old or younger. At this age, they will have already developed some permanent teeth for the orthodontist to evaluate. From here, the dental specialist can determine whether any orthodontic issues are present or developing. At this point, an orthodontist can use special orthodontics to help fix some problems already present to simplify upcoming orthodontic treatment or to eliminate the need for it completely. Orthodontists call intervention at this age Phase 1 treatment.

Although the first recommended check-up is at 7 years old, and some kids get their braces at 8, most kid patients get their braces when they are anywhere between 11 to 14 years old. If patients had Phase 1 treatment, also known as an interceptive treatment, and are now wearing braces, orthodontists may refer to it as Phase 2 treatment.

How Many Teeth Do You Have to Lose to Get Braces?

There is no real number of teeth you must have lost to get braces. Generally, any child will start their braces treatment with a mix of permanent and baby teeth, with the majority being of the permanent kind. However, you shouldn’t wait for most of your teeth to fall out before going to your orthodontist. Only they will know when exactly you will be ready to use braces. Remember that while you can get braces at any age, it’s best if you do it as young as possible.

While the number of adult teeth is a factor to take into consideration, orthodontists analyze other parts of your mouth to determine when you can start wearing braces. Most noticeably, they will keep their eyes on the growth of your upper and lower jaw and the spacing between your teeth.

If a patient went to the orthodontist at a young age, the dental specialist should have already noticed some imminent problems and scheduled an appointment for future check-ups.

Why Is It Better to Put on Braces When You Are a Child?

In short, because your teeth are much more malleable. When children get braces, their teeth, jaws, and surrounding dental structures are all still in development and, thus, haven’t hardened completely. Making it much faster for orthodontists to move the bones to the desired location, resulting in a reduced orthodontic treatment time and reducing the risk of the child’s teeth moving back to the position they were in before braces. Additionally, the faster metabolism of a kid provides a better experience throughout their orthodontic treatment.

On the other hand, not having braces as a child can lead to severe consequences later on in the patient’s lifetime. People who require braces and don’t get them at an early age usually experience pain when chewing, trouble with their self-image due to a crooked smile, jaw pain, and much more. In severe cases, a patient may require surgery to fix a problem that wouldn’t exist if they had worn braces at a young age.

Can Adults Have Braces if They Still Have Baby Teeth?

Adults could have braces even if they had a retained baby tooth. Children are still able to wear braces even if they have a mix of permanent and baby teeth because orthodontists don’t attach brackets to non-permanent teeth. An adult patient can go through braces treatment with a similar approach, but it’s not the only option available.

Adults with retained baby teeth have a few options regarding how to treat the situation. Firstly, if the tooth isn’t causing dental problems, the patient can opt to keep it without going through orthodontic treatment. However, if it is causing other issues, orthodontists can reshape the tooth or remove it completely to then replace it with a prosthetic. Orthodontists may also recommend the removal of the teeth entirely and then close the gap with another orthodontic treatment.

Schedule Your Appointment Today

Here at Estes Orthodontics, we are ready to schedule your appointment at any time. Contact us during our office hours if you require a dental check-up or if you have questions regarding your braces treatment.

Dr. Estes and her team are committed to ensuring each patient and their families receive excellent care using state-of-the-art treatment options.