If you have concerns about your child’s teeth, bite, overcrowding, or other general issues you are probably considering orthodontic treatment. But, when should kids get braces? And, at what age do children start orthodontic treatment? Those are the questions most parents have, so let us help by answering these questions.

When Should My Child See an Orthodontist?

The American Academy of Orthodontics (AAO) recommends that your child visits an orthodontist by the age of 7 or at the first sign of an orthodontic problem. Most children will not receive treatment at this age, but there are benefits in getting an evaluation at an early age. It’s important that the jaw is properly growing when permanent teeth come in. By examining the face and jaw during the growing process, your orthodontist can determine if any immediate treatment should be started or if your child should come back for periodic evaluations to monitor development. Orthodontists refer to this as “watchful waiting” and it gives them the opportunity to intervene as early as possible, ensuring optimal results.

The age that kids get braces varies. Typically your child’s dentist will recommend a consultation with an orthodontist when they feel it will be most beneficial. The average age children see their orthodontist is 7 years of age. The average age that children get braces is between 9 and 14 years of age.

Most times children will get braces once they have lost their baby teeth and have permanent teeth. Usually permanent teeth come in between the ages of 8 and 14, but orthodontic treatment can be started before all of the teeth come in. 

With that being said, braces and orthodontic treatment work for patients of all ages. Many adults start orthodontic treatment, however the treatment may take a bit longer because of denser bone tissue in adults.

It’s never too late to get a beautiful and healthy smile. But, if you are seeking orthodontic treatment for your child, it’s best to have the initial consultation at 7 years of age.


What is a good age for braces?

Generally, kids get braces between 10 and 14 years of age. During these years the head and the mouth are still growing, making orthodontic  treatment more conducive to shifting teeth.

Types of Braces For Kids

When you think of braces, you probably envision the traditional silver, metal braces. But,there are actually many types of braces for kids. Let’s take a look at the most common types of braces for children.

Most children get traditional braces made from stainless steel or titanium. Each brace is bonded to a tooth and connected by an archwire — a thin metal wire that runs through the brackets. The orthodontist will adjust this wire to put pressure on the teeth and help them move. Small elastic bands, called ligature elastic, hold the bracket onto the archwire. These bands are usually changed on follow-up orthodontic appointments. 


While traditional braces are the most common for kids, other braces are used. Sometimes clear aligners are used to treat misaligned teeth in children. Clear aligners, commonly known as Invisalign, are a series of custom-made removable aligners that are replaced approximately every two weeks. Each set of aligners gradually shifts teeth to the desired position. 


Self-ligating braces are another option for kids. Self-ligating braces use a specialized clip rather than rubber bands to shift the teeth. This type of orthodontic treatment usually uses less pressure and requires fewer office visits; however, self-ligating braces are worn longer than traditional braces.


What to Expect During an Orthodontic Check-Up

Approximately every 4-6 weeks, you will have a follow-up apportioned for your braces. These appointments are not very long. Expect to be at your orthodontic follow-up appointment for about 30 minutes unless you are experiencing issues or your orthodontist needs to take more time with you. During your orthodontic follow-up, your orthodontist will evaluate your progress. The orthodontic assistant will remove your elastics, adjust or replace your wires, and replace your elastics. Orthodontic follow-ups are a great time to discuss your treatment or ask questions. 


Benefits of braces for kids

Of the nearly 4 million patients with braces, approximately 75% of them are under 18 years of age. Braces help your child get a beautiful smile and straight teeth, but braces actually do so much more. Here are 10 benefits of braces that may surprise you:


  1. Improve child’s speech
  2. Help reduce gum disease and tooth decay
  3. Improve chewing
  4. Prevent teeth from chipping
  5. Improve oral health
  6. Prevent jaw bone erosion
  7. Decrease headaches
  8. Save money on oral health issues in the future
  9. Boost confidence
  1. Enhance digestive health


Your child’s oral health is so important, especially during developmental years. If you or your dentist have concerns about your child’s teeth, the best thing to do is schedule an initial consultation with an orthodontist. Your orthodontist will be able to assess your child’s teeth and mouth and develop a treatment plan if necessary. Millions of children a year benefit from braces – surely yours will as well.