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Braces at Any Age

Braces at Any AgeOrthodontic treatments, particularly treatments using braces, are often associated with pre-teen and teenage years. While it’s always easier to start younger, straightening teeth is possible at older ages as well. If you think you’re too late, just remember: fewer dental problems and greater confidence often follow treatment.

Early treatment for pre-teens and teenagers often begins with a recommendation from a dentist in the hopes that crooked or crowded teeth can be altered, enhancing orofacial appearance and eliminating future dental problems. Because of this, plans for braces will sometimes begin as early as age seven, when most children have lost the majority of their baby teeth. While braces are not actually applied until later, an early treatment plan acts as a record of dental growth and what potential problems can be eliminated through braces.

Not only do braces at a younger age circumvent many possible dental issues, it also shortens treatment time. Younger people are still growing, and so their heads and mouths grow right along with their bodies. Teeth are more easily manipulated and treatment is sometimes easier than at an older age, simply because the treatment can change right along with patients’ bodies. However, younger patients can experience regression, as there is a tendency for pre-teens and teenagers to take less care of their teeth during and after treatment.

Adults over eighteen are at an advantage in the dental care department. Generally adults seek treatment to correct problems that were not addressed during their teenage years, eliminating crooked, crowded teeth, jaw placement issues, or gum disease, among others. Adult treatment provides the same benefits as treatment at earlier ages, because teeth are both straightened and more long-term problems are avoided. On top of that, chances for old problems to start again are lessened, as adult patients usually have better dental hygiene practices. There is generally no age limit for getting braces. However, consultation with an orthodontist is always necessary to ensure that various treatments match each individual’s needs.

The main downside for adult patients is the time it takes for treatment. Unlike children and teens, people over eighteen have stopped growing. Treatment plans can be less flexible for adults, because mouth shape is fixed. Treatment can take anywhere from eighteen months to three or four years, about two years more than treatment at a younger age. However, the benefits of a straighter smile and a healthier mouth improve overall physical health. No matter what age braces are worn, the outcome is a healthy smile and improved confidence.

No matter how old a person is, the most important part of wearing braces is practicing good dental habits. Without such habits as frequently brushing teeth, flossing, and wearing any retainers provided by an orthodontist, the treatments can halt or other problems may arise. Regardless of age, treatments ultimately benefit any person who wears braces, as long as oral hygiene is set as first priority.

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