What's the Best Age to Get Braces?

Whether you’re contemplating braces for your child or yourself, our team can help. Call Duval Orthodontics at 478-333-6601, t

Many of our adult patients want to know the best time for their children to get braces so their kids can enjoy straighter teeth and a healthier mouth. And, perhaps surprisingly, an equal number of adults in our Warner Robins and Albany, Georgia, orthodontics practices also want to know if they can still get braces even though they’re not teenagers anymore. 

Here’s the good news: It’s never too late to straighten your teeth and enhance your smile!

At Duval Orthodontics, James Duval, DDS, and the skilled orthodontics team are here to help you decide when the best time is for braces for yourself and your kids. A variety of factors play into your decision regarding when to receive orthodontic care. While there may be an “ideal time” for braces, there certainly isn’t a “right time.” 

Today, more adults than ever before are choosing to wear braces, and achieving their desired results. Likewise, there are plenty of children who haven’t lost all their baby teeth yet, but who can still benefit from phase-one early orthodontic intervention. 

If you’ve been considering braces for yourself or your kids, read on to learn more about the best age to get braces — and to find out how orthodontic treatment can benefit you at nearly any age. 

The ideal time for braces is adolescence 

Why do so many young teenagers have braces? From a dental standpoint, adolescents are at an ideal time in their lives to receive orthodontic treatment. That’s because, unlike younger children, nearly all of teenagers’ permanent teeth are already in place. And, unlike adult patients, a growing teen’s teeth are more responsive to repositioning.

Typically, orthodontic treatment during the teen years is most efficient and effective when it begins after all your child’s primary (baby) teeth are gone, and after their 12-year molars are at least partially erupted. While a significant number of kids begin orthodontic treatment between the ages of 12-14, plenty of kids don’t get braces until they’re in their mid-teens. The exact age at which your teen or preteen should begin wearing braces depends on the extent of their orthodontic needs and whether or not they have most or all of their permanent teeth.

Dr. Duvall assesses your child’s overall dental health and orthodontic concerns and recommends a course of treatment as well as the ideal time to begin. 

When to consider early orthodontic intervention

Many parents are under the misconception that their children don’t need to visit an orthodontist until they’ve lost all their baby teeth, or until they become teenagers, however, that’s simply not true. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that children see an orthodontic specialist for the first time at about the age of seven, well before the ideal age for braces. That’s because it’s possible to spot fundamental bite or jaw problems in younger children that we can best address through phase-one early intervention orthodontic treatment. 

Phase-one early intervention

Phase-one early orthodontic intervention covers any treatment that occurs before your child has all of their permanent teeth — typically between the ages of 7-10. Simply put, early intervention orthodontics helps correct any underlying structural issues, including:

Once Dr. Duvall and the team treat these underlying concerns, braces can straighten teeth and fix alignment more efficiently. Phase-one orthodontic treatment may mean wearing a retainer, an expander, or partial braces for a short period of time. After that, phase-two orthodontic treatment — the full braces phase — becomes faster and easier. 

It’s not too late for adults to benefit from braces

If you never had braces as a teen, or you did, but you’ve found that your teeth have shifted out of position over the years, you can benefit from braces as an adult, too. While many adults decide to wear braces in pursuit of a beautiful smile, there are many other important benefits of having straight teeth and a properly aligned jaw.  

At any age, crooked or crowded teeth are much harder to keep clean and maintain good oral hygiene. Wearing braces to straighten teeth and improve their spacing can substantially reduce your risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and ultimately, tooth loss, as you get older. Orthodontic problems can also cause abnormal wear and tear on the surface of your teeth, stressed gum tissue, and misaligned jaw joints — sometimes leading to painful temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.

Don’t let your age prevent you from having a more beautiful smile

If you’re considering braces at a later time in your life, you’re not alone. Approximately one in five orthodontic patients is over the age of 21. 

For our adult patients, getting braces can be a bit more of an involved process than it is for our younger patients. This is largely because adult bones are less malleable and are done growing. Additionally, older oral tissues tend to take a little longer to adjust to newly positioned teeth. 

Even so, the right orthodontic treatment plan can create a beautiful smile, improve bite alignment, and make oral hygiene easier. And, that sets you up for a healthier mouth for the rest of your life. 

We also offer a variety of orthodontic treatment options for teens and adults, including clear braces, Incognito™ braces, Six Month Smiles®, and the Invisalign® aligning system. With so many discreet and quick treatment options, getting a beautiful smile is easier than you think. 


Whether you’re contemplating braces for your child or yourself, our team can help. Call Duval Orthodontics at 478-333-6601, to schedule a comprehensive orthodontic consultation at our Warner Robins, or Albany office today. You can also click here to request an appointment online.

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