What is the best age for children to start brace treatment?


How soon can I have my braces?

At Cleveland Orthodontics in Middlesbrough, many teenagers cannot wait to start their brace treatment when they visit us or the first time… how things have changed over the years!

And of course braces are not just for children any longer…many adults are now choosing modern white and “invisible” brace techniques to get their new smile…read more about adult brace treatment here.

For children and teenagers, it may be a good idea to get cracking ASAP…sometimes it is better to wait a few years before starting.

This post discusses when your dentist may decide to refer you for an orthodontic opinion…and when brace treatment might be started.

When to be referred to the orthodontist

Your dentist is the best person to decide when a referral to an orthodontist is needed. It is vital to keep your family check-ups so that your dentist can monitor your child’s teeth as they develop and make the referral at the right time.

Teeth develop at very different ways for different people. Girls tend to loose their baby teeth quicker than boys. Some children have lost their baby teeth by the age of nine, others still have them at fifteen.

As a rule of thumb, most referrals are made once all the baby teeth have fallen out. This is usually around 11 -13 years of age.

But there are certain situations where your dentist may consider an earlier referral… you can read more about when this may be the case.

Your dentist will also be looking at whether there is a need for orthodontic treatment. If your teeth have come through into a good position, you may not need a referral.

Tooth brushing will also be assessed at this stage. If your child’s teeth are not clean, it is unlikely that your dentist will refer.

When can brace treatment be started?

Once you have seen the orthodontist there are a number of things that will decide on when or if brace treatment can start.

Is brace treatment actually needed?

Not everyone qualifies for treatment under the NHS in England. If teeth are in a reasonably god position, it may be the case that brace treatment will not make a great deal of difference to the health of the teeth or how they look.

Read more about how we assess who qualifies for NHS orthodontic treatment and what you can do if your child does not qualify.

Are there still baby teeth present?

We usually wait until all baby teeth have fallen out before fitting fixed “train track” braces.

If baby teeth are still hanging on, we may review you in a few years time to allow the baby teeth to fall out naturally.

For children whose teeth stick out a lot, we can sometime start a little earlier while there are still baby teeth.

You can read more about treating teeth that stick out here.

Are there NHS waiting lists?

Some practices may have a waiting list for NHS treatment. Your orthodontist will be able to tell you if this is the case and how long you might have to wait.

Does your child want to have brace treatment?

Despite the best intentions of parents, some children and teenagers just do not want to have brace treatment. In these circumstances the orthodontist will not be able to provide treatment.

However braces can be provided at all ages so it may be the case that you can be referred a few years down the line if there is a change of heart( although NHS treatment is usually available for children and teenagers who are 18 years of age or under).

Is tooth brushing good enough?

We need spotlessly clean teeth and gums before braces can be fitted…so if oral hygiene is not up to scratch, we cannot start treatment until this is sorted out.

If I need braces, when is the “best” time to start treatment?

The ideal time is when the patient has all their second teeth through (but see above for when we can start a little earlier) and the teeth are squeaky clean.

The wannabee patient also needs to understand what is involved in the treatment, including the changes in lifestyle that may need to be made (no fizzy drinks, no sweets, yet more tooth brushing!).

Some patients have all their adult teeth through by 10 years of age. This may be a little early to start…it depends on how mature the child is.

It’s a good idea where possible to have treatment completed before teenagers leave for University.

About Cleveland Orthodontics

Our specialist-led practice has been established since 1996 and provides brace treatment to people of all ages from across the North East, including Middlesbrough, Yarm, Stockton-on-Tees, Billingham and Redcar.

We offer NHS orthodontic treatment for children and a range of modern white and “invisible” braces for adults of all ages such as Invisalign. FREE consultations are available… you can either telephone for an appointment on 01642 243 020 or book through our website.