What is the best age for orthodontics? It could be any age depending on the problem.
How old is too old for orthodontics? How young is too young? While teenagers make up a large percent of our patients, did you know that some of our patients are as young as age 5? Patient ages can range from over age 5 to seniors in their 80s.
As early as age 5 (or even earlier, if needed), there are treatment appliances that look very similar to sports mouth guards. While these simple appliances may not look very complex, they can have a huge impact for many dental or oral problems such as: proper swallowing, nose breathing instead of mouth breathing, poor tooth alignment, and jaw growth.
There are other systems that can be used in addition to mouth appliances – one system is called Myobrace. Myobrace was developed over a course of 20(!) years by an Australian dentist who was particularly interested in preventative orthodontics. One major problem that Myobrace appliances can help aid in are poor sleep for children. This is helpful as poor sleep effects a child’s behavior during the day and their performance in school.
Early Phase Treatment
The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) and the American Dental Association (ADA) recommend orthodontic evaluation by age 7. At this age, there are usually enough permanent teeth to use many different appliances such as expanders, jaw growth modifying appliances, conventional braces, or Invisalign to correct narrow jaws, overbites and underbites, or crowding.
This is also a great time to make space in a child’s mouth for teeth that may not have room to grow. Back in the 1970s and 1980s, American orthodontists waited until a child was around age 12 to begin treatment. However, at that age, most permanent teeth have grown in. This resulted in extraction of permanent premolar teeth in 60% of their patients! Today, orthodontists extract in less than 5% of their patients. This is due partly to early phase creation of space.
Preteens and teenagers age 11 to 15 is the standard orthodontic age. The benefit of treating at this age is that while most of the permanent teeth are present, there is still growth happening, which can be used to correct jaw and bite problems.
Teenagers benefit greatly from orthodontics as a misaligned, crooked smile may have immensely negative effects on a teenager’s confidence.
Today, many adults are seeking orthodontic treatment because while they may have had treatment as children/teens, they did not wear their retainer (learn more about retainers here!). The lack of retainer wear, or replacing their retainer, caused relapse.
Relapse can occur for many reasons, but with orthodontic treatment, teeth can be straightened again. Whether it is through braces or Invisalign, many adults are opting to undergo orthodontic treatment again. While the majority of our patients (roughly 90%) are adults and opt for Invisalign due to the discreet treatment, the primary goal is to have straight and healthy teeth.
Teeth are never “too old” for orthodontics as long as they are healthy and in good care! Adults may also take note that orthodontic treatment can be a huge health benefit, and prevent serious oral problems such as gum disease or even tooth decay.
Interested in learning more about orthodontics? Contact us here!