A good smile can make you more confident, regardless of whether you are just starting middle school or leaving middle age. At Straighten Up Orthodontics, people of all ages reach out to Dr. Bill Layman to help with their smiles. One of the most common questions we hear relates to age. Our patients want to know if they are too young – or too old – to get the care they need.
There are reasons why orthodontists take age into consideration when it comes to treatment, but that doesn’t mean these services aren’t right for you. Learn more about the ideal ages for orthodontic treatment and how you can achieve your ideal smile.
Your Orthodontist Waits Until You Lose Your Baby Teeth
Around the age of six, kids start to lose their primary (baby) teeth. Every child develops differently, so you might find some kids with toothless smiles by the age of five, while others retain their baby teeth into their early teens. These lost baby teeth make room for your permanent adult teeth. One of the main factors that go into orthodontic care is the state of your baby teeth.
Your orthodontist wants to make sure most of your baby teeth are out before they will consider braces. Otherwise, they will straighten teeth that will just get removed, leaving space for crooked teeth to grow back in. While you might not need to wait for all of your baby teeth to fall out to make corrections, the state of your adult teeth is a significant factor in whether you are ready for braces.
As a result, most kids start orthodontic care between ages 8 and 14, depending on their development.
An Orthodontic Evaluation Can Predict Development
Even if you haven’t lost many baby teeth, Dr. Layman is still able to predict how your teeth might grow in. Around the age of seven, as your teeth start to fall out, he can conduct an orthodontic evaluation of your mouth. He will look at how your current adult teeth have come in and review x-rays of your mouth. This will help him understand if you will have a significant need for braces in the future or if there is any need for an interceptive first phase of Orthodontics to address concerns such as a crossbite, underbite or thumb habit.
You can use this information to plan for orthodontic care as you get older.
There is No Such Thing As Too Old for Braces
Once you have your full set of adult teeth, you can get orthodontic treatment. This extends into adulthood and even in your senior years.
Historically, orthodontists were reluctant to work on older patients. Modern dental care wasn’t as advanced as it is today, leaving the teeth and gums weak. However, today’s patients grew up taking care of their teeth and they are in much better condition now than ever before. This means more patients can opt for late-life braces – and many do.
Some people opt for braces as an adult because they want to improve their smiles. Others go the orthodontic route to correct tooth problems and other oral issues. Some older patients face the choice of getting braces or dentures, and they prefer braces.
Your Teeth Move as You Age
Your teeth constantly shift in your mouth. They move as you age and shift because of life’s conditions. Some women need braces after pregnancy because their teeth shifted while carrying a child. This is one of the reasons why people opt for orthodontic treatment in their 40s, 50s, and even 60s.
When you complete your orthodontic treatment, your doctor will give you a retainer to wear. This will help you keep your teeth in place. Too often, patients get their teeth treated at a young age and then need to wear braces again because their teeth move when they are older or they stopped wearing their retainer. Wearing a retainer can prevent this.
Talk to Dr. Layman Regardless of Your Age
Even if you believe you are too young for braces, it always helps to meet with an orthodontist to form a plan for the future. If you think you are too old for orthodontic treatment, Dr. Layman might be able to help you. The first step is to set up an exam to voice your concerns so you can start working toward a solution.
Request a free exam with Dr. Layman today. He accepts both in-person and virtual patients.