For many, braces are a necessary evil. You spend a year or two suffering with the nickname “metal mouth” in exchange for a beautiful, permanently straight smile! But braces have come a long way in the past few decades and now men and women of all ages are embracing teeth straighteners of all kinds. But what is the ideal age to start straightening your teeth for best results?
The purpose of braces is to improve a patient’s “orofacial” appearance (meaning the mouth and face) and treat issues like crooked teeth, overbites and underbites, and disorders of the jaw. Today, the average cost of braces is anywhere between $3,000 and $10,000, depending on the type of braces and the patient’s insurance.
If left untreated, patients may begin to experience tooth decay, gum disease, bite problems, chewing problems, and even headaches and ear aches.
Patients with orthodontic needs will benefit from getting braces at almost any age. However, the most ideal time to get braces is between the ages of 10 and 14. This is because patients at this age are still growing and their teeth are more receptive to straightening. Children younger than 10 can still get started on braces, so long as they’ve lost all of their baby teeth and their permanent teeth have finished growing in.
If you’re not sure if you child needs braces, it’s recommended that you make an appointment with your dentist so he or she can perform an exam and look for signs, including late or early tooth loss, problems with their bite, issues chewing, or crowded teeth. Certain habits can also create the need for braces including finger or thumb sucking or poor nutrition.
There are many different types of dental appliances available and patients can generally choose between stainless steel braces, plastic braces, ceramic braces, or even invisible trays. Though pricier, invisible trays are a great option for adults who don’t want the appearance of metal braces.
If you’re an adult considering braces, it’s important to remember that even though braces provide the same benefits in adults as they do in children, the entire treatment process may take longer. Generally, adults will wear braces anywhere from 18 months to 3 years and will be required to wear a retainer to maintain results.
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