Believe it or not, the need for braces extends beyond the obvious crooked teeth. It is not always evident to a parent that their child needs braces, which is why an orthodontic evaluation is an important part of kids’ dental care. Around age 7, a child should be evaluated for teeth crowding, misalignments, spaces or missing teeth, and bite. All of these factors help to determine whether or not a child would benefit from braces or other oral devices to help support good oral care, address speech, pain, or chewing concerns, and/or abnormal wear of the teeth. The evaluation will help you to determine the best age for braces for your child’s specific situation.

The Best Age for Braces

While orthodontic concerns can be addressed at nearly any point (child, teen, adult), ideally braces should be placed while the child’s head and mouth are still growing, making those middle school years (11-14) the best age for braces. It’s not just their age that matters, it’s also important that your child is responsible enough to maintain a healthy oral care routine including brushing twice daily, and using mouthwash and flossing once a day. They also need to be able to understand what foods to avoid to prevent damage to their braces, and to be able to communicate about any pain they are experiencing.

A healthy mouth includes a proper bite and aligned teeth, making an orthodontist an important part of your oral heath care team.