Braces? How Old?

Updated on July 26, 2011
M.M. asks from Elcho, WI
22 answers

My son just turned 9 and my husband and I know he needs braces. I thought they should wait til 12-13 years old when all his teeth have come in and in place. My husband disagrees and just made him an appt for next week. What age did your kids get them?

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answers from Santa Barbara on

Orthodontics have progressed so much from when I was a kid!! Back then they were always pulling teeth, there was never enough room in the jaw. Now they will pop in a palate expander at 7 or 8, move everything around in anticipation for the rest of the adult teeth. My daughter had a quickie second phase in middle school and went to highschool with perfect teeth. This is a much easier way!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

we have friends with kids in braces at age 7 &'s called intervention & making early corrections, the process is sometimes easier.

My older son went in at 14 & out at 16+. My younger son went in at 13 & out before 15 - a much easier case.

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answers from Norfolk on

When I was growing up it was common to wait till all the adult teeth came in.
I had braces for 7 years (5th grade through 11th grade).
My teeth were too big for my jaw and they had to pull 8 adult teeth (wisdom and bicuspids I think) in order to get them to all fit.
That's old school now.
If you start earlier, you have more options which can result in shorter amount of time in braces.
They have expanders now which can create more room in the jaws (while the bones are still growing) and it's much less painful when the upper palate is still soft. Fewer pulled adult teeth means less moving the other teeth around.
My son is just finishing up 2 years of braces. He's 12 now and he's out of them before he's done with middle school - which is wonderful!
I was so scared he was going to have to go through what I went through (it was pure unending misery) and it's so great to have it over in just a few short years.
His smile is perfect and the straight teeth are so easy to keep clean.

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answers from Lincoln on

Our orthodontist doesnt like to put full sets of braces on kids until all their baby teeth have fallen out. He says, it's just a waste of the patient's money and his time. Because, as they mature, their facial structure changes, changing their jaw, making their teeth line up differently, and you just end up having to put them on all over again. That being said, there are always exceptions. He does do it if the teeth are really bad, or if there is something that can be done to ward off having so much work done at a later age. In my daughter's case, he put braces just on the top front 6 teeth, for 6 months to correct a crossbite, when she was 10 (or maybe she was 9) After 6 months, he took them off and put in a permanent retainer. Now he is waiting for her to lose her baby molars. As soon as they are all out and the permanents in far enough for a bracket, he will put a full set of braces on.
My advice would be to ask around for referrals. Our orthodontist told us there are some that will put a full set of braces on a child too young, because they know that it will have to be done again, so they get more money. So ask around, then go in for a consultation. They might be able to do things now so that when your child is older, not as much will have to be done. It was amazing the difference just those 6 months made in my daughter's teeth! She will still need a full set in a year or so, but for now, she isnt afraid of her teeth showing when she smiles!



answers from Charlotte on



answers from Chicago on

My 10 yr old had an Orthodontic consult on Tuesday. They took a panoramic x-ray and checked her bite along with some other things. The ortho felt that since she still had some baby teeth that can fall out on their own, that we should wait 6 months or so before they make impressions and come up with a detailed plan.

My 13 yr old will have a consult in August and I'm sure we'll get her started right away.



answers from Milwaukee on

My son got his braces on at 8. His teeth were terribly croocked and his canines were coming in at 90 degrees. He will do two sets: one now, the second when he is about 13. The orthodontist makes the cost so it is the same whether you do 2 sets or 1 set. It's just a matter of 2 years now 1 year then versus 3 years as a teen . I'm so glad we got braces on him. He feels so much more confident in his smile ~ and he looks super cute with a brace face.


answers from Washington DC on

My son started early - I think he was in 4th or 5th grade. They fixed his buck teeth and then he remained in a holding pattern until the rest of his teeth came in.
I started at age 8, myself.
My children have a friend whose parents waited until she was in middle school to start her braces -- the poor child wouldn't even smile because her teeth were so bad! It would have been far better to start earlier for her self esteem. She is fine now, but middle school is tough enough... you know?


answers from Houston on

12-13. I have several friends who are dentists and dental assistants and I had much dental work in my youth.

Getting prep retainers usually start around 10-11 if they are needed, but getting braces that early are:

1. Waste of money b/c they will have to wear the braces for several years b/c the teeth change.
2. Undue pain and suffering for the child who will have to wear them for several years due to changing mouth.

No lie. All my friends who got braces around 9-10 years old, got them off at the same time I did, when I was 13 and I only wore mine for about a year and a half.

I had my adenoids and 8 teeth pulled (4 baby, 4 permanent), AND I also wore 2 different palate extenders to get expand my mouth, I was about 11 at the time. (And I had severally screwed up teeth.)

ANY dentist who puts braces on a child that young is money hungry and does NOT have your child's best interest in mind.


answers from Los Angeles on

I got mine on in 4th grade and they were removed 2 weeks before the start of 7th. Best timing ever. But have you had a recommendation from your dentist yet? Also, after the braces come off, make sure he sticks w/ the after-care plan (head gear, retainers, etc.) otherwise it will be all for naught and the teeth can shift back.



answers from Washington DC on

My 2nd daughter had a habit appliance at 8-10 then at 11 she got braces.
You can get them now but really, why? Insurance only covers a certain $$ amount and you'll end up paying a lot more.
I had one orthodontist want to put my older daughter in braces at 6. We moved and I made a consultation with a new ortho and she said What for? She has straight teeth. SHe is now 16, has perfect teeth (no thanks to me or hubby) and hasn't needed braces.
Number 2 got them after her baby teeth fell out. We waited about 6 months. Her habit appliance was because I couldn't get her to stop sucking her thumb.



answers from Eau Claire on

My daughter had a consultation around 9 because it was very visible that she would need them too. At the time her cousins who were only a few months older than her were getting braces and retainers. Her orthodontist said she would have to wait for teeth to come in or it would be a waste because they would probably have to repeat with the permenant teeth. When I talked to my sisters about it they said that their children had just about all their permenant teeth already so that was why they were candidates early. I guess it depends on the child some get their teeth early some late. Hopefully the appt is a free consultation and any x-rays they take are covered on your insurance because if your son doesn't have just about all his permanent teeth they will probably have you wait a year and check again. My daughter is 12 and our regular dentist has been monitoring it and she is finally ready to go for another consultation with the orthodontist.


answers from Phoenix on

you can't compare your sons teeth to everyone elses. my daughter probably should have gotten them at 9 but shes 11 and has had them for 4 weeks. her 2 front teeth were like a V shape and some are coming in crazy crooked. she has had 2 baby teeth pulled and one permanent pulled. one of her bottom teeth was grinding a dent in one of her top teeth. if your dentist is suggesting it then you should check into it and DO NOT put it off. It could cause way too many problems. Good luck!


answers from Washington DC on

I had them when I was 10-12.



answers from Oklahoma City on

He needs to go now. It may be too late if you wait and he'll have to have his jaw broken to fix the spacing. It won't hurt even if the orthodontist recommends waiting. Most kids I know have their first appointment when their regular dentist says go. Some have teeth pulled at 8 and have Bionators they were daily to force the jaw to grow more bone. My oldest grandson's dad didn't take him and when he was finally put in foster care he had to have braces at 10. They said it was pretty much too late and he is nearly 13 and they don't know how much longer he'll have them on.



answers from Iowa City on

We've known my younger daughter would need braces and an expander since her 3 year dental visit and we were referred at 6 to an orthodontist. It all depends on what's going on and the individual problem. We were told we can wait a couple years before they'll start with an initial stage and then wait for all the teeth for a final stage. A friend's daughter just got her braces off and she's 10. It's worth it to have an evaluation so you know what to expect.



answers from Boston on

It depends on what needs fixing, and ask around for opinions on who people like (and why) and get at least two consultations before committing to anything. If two people who don't know each other tell you the same thing, there you go.

My two oldest are 13. We knew that they would need braces for years - my step-daughter has one tooth on top (the pointy one) that is in front of her other teeth and two molars on the bottom that are turned completely sideways. My son has crowding on the the bottom. Both weren't considered ready for consultations until a few months ago and can get them any time, but there's no rush.

My 7 year old also had a consult, which surprised me but he has a severe under bite (like I used to have) and the thinking now is that while his jaw is growing, they have more success in using a palate expander to widen the top jaw and elastics to pull the lower jaw backwards. So he will likely start orthodontics this year and my 5 year old has the same problem and will start at around the same age. I wasn't started until high school and ultimately had surgery.

So bottom line - there are best practices for each type of problem and a good ortho should be able to explain why it's best to start something at a particular age vs. earlier or later and a second opinion should basically echo that.



answers from Davenport on

I was in 6th grade when I got mine - my Grandfahter and Uncle are dentist/orthodontists, and my mom and aunt are Hygenists...I was 11. I had them for a little over 3 years, including expanders and head gear as well. I got them off the day before my freshman in High school pictures ( helps to have connections). I think all my permanent teeth were in , including the beginning sof wisdom teeth, when I first got my actual braces. BUT I had expanders (a retainer that snaps into the top or bottoem of your mouth, and has a screw in the middle that you crank once a week, to literally expand your bone structure/jaw) of all different sorts from the age of 3 on up to Highschool - I had a very bad cross bite, and big teeth in a little mouth, so they did it gradually over a long period of time, to avoid having to pull any teeth to "make room".

I am very glad I had braces, my Husband didn't, and his teeth are very crooked, his parents let HIM decide if he wanted them or not at age 12...not a good plan - now he is very self concious, and rarely every smiles with his teeth showing.

All that said, I think having an appointment with an orthodontist now for evaluations is a good idea - he will tell you when is the right time, and what will be needed, and you can probably get a cost idea for the whole thing, so you can plan/save for it.

I was very lucky to have it in the family, mine were free!




answers from Detroit on

If it is a free consult go ahead and take him in. I would probably go to 2 orthos and see if they agree.

But yes,, they like to do braces earlier - it is easier to move teeth in younger mouths.
sometimes they do a short 6-months to 1 year braces at this age.. and get a ton of tooth movemeent.. then do somthing later to make the smile perfect.



answers from Boston on

Your husband was right he does he need an appt. Most orthodontists recommend a child be seen by age 7 there are things they can do at this age that will lessen the time they need braces unfortunately for my older son they can't do anything now he has to wait until he has lost more teeth but some kids can get some help now. They correct more then just crooked teeth they also correct jaw/bite problems



answers from Milwaukee on

Our dentist thinks the same way you do. My daughter lost her final tooth this Spring, had her first ortho appt. in June and got her braces on last week. She's 14.



answers from Minneapolis on

Your husband is right to get him an appointment now. An appointment doesn't mean that he's getting braces yet. Every kid is different. Many orthodontists are different too so feel free to see multiple orthodontists before you choose one. The prevailing opinion now is that kids should be evaluated by an orthodontist at age 7. I interviewed/consulted 5 orthodontists before we selected the one we see. Both of my kids see the same ortho and both need braces, but their situations are different so they are getting different treatment. My oldest got his braces at age 12 1/2 and had them removed at age 14. His first evaluation was at about age 9 and they kept an eye on his teeth until he was ready. My youngest first saw the ortho at age 7-8 and he needed an expander at age 9. He is now 11 and sees the orthos 2-3x/year for an eval and will probably get his braces also at about age 12 1/2. When I got braces 30 years ago I had to have 4 adult teeth pulled. Fortunately, my kids won't have to go through that. So, keep the appt and see what the doctor has to say. You can always get another opinion (or 2 or 3) also, but best to know now at an early age what types of treatment options are available.

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