When to Get Braces and Why

Many people think that braces are only for teeth straightening, but this is not true. Other than aesthetics, braces have several other uses and function. Check some of the best reasons to get braces and when it’s the best time to have them installed.

Why Do People Get Braces?

Listed below are the most common uses and functions of dental braces.

To Straighten Crooked Teeth

Any type of braces, from Invisalign to the usual meta brackets and wires, can straighten your teeth. While many want straighter teeth for cosmetic purposes, it is actually better for dental health.

Why? Straighter teeth are easier to clean. Crowding can trap food particles and grow bacteria, which may cause dental problems later on.

With straighter teeth, chewing is also easier and more effective. There is less grinding, which translates to a healthier jaw and body. People with misaligned teeth often clench or grind them, especially at night, as the top and bottom jaw do not slip and jolt against each other when they try to close their bite. Correcting this means fewer jaw-aches and headaches!

To Correct a Misaligned Bite

One of the best reasons to get braces is in case of an overbite or under bite. An overbite is when the upper jaw protrudes out in front of the lower jaw when you bite naturally. On the other hand, an under bite occurs when the lower jaw overlaps the upper jaw. Both of these problems come with a range of side effects like undue stress on some teeth, though others may see little to no action at all. These bite problems also put strain on the jaw itself, causing tension and jaw ache or teeth grinding.

Incorrect bites will also make you more prone to biting your cheeks or lips, which over time can seriously damage the interior of your mouth. While Invisalign is good aesthetically because it is nearly invisible in the mouth and is easier for eating and cleaning, it can do little for correcting bite problems. It is best to get the traditional bracket and wire system; the rubber bands or headgear make them more effective overall.

More Than Just Straight Teeth

The following conditions are also common reasons to get braces:

  • Chewing and eating problems
  • Speech problems
  • Jaw or TMJ pain
  • Sleep apnea caused by mouth breathing and snoring
  • Teeth grinding
  • Teeth clenching
  • Gum disease
  • Tooth decay

When to Get Braces

Determining when to get braces will also depend on the severity and cause of your teeth misalignment.

While there is no age limit for this type of corrective treatment, most orthodontists will recommend evaluation as early as 7 years old, as the mouth is still growing and the tissues and bones are more malleable and flexible than they would be in adults.

It is also best to have crooked teeth fixed before adolescence to avoid emotional and social challenges.

Normally, treatment can start as soon as the child has lost most of their baby teeth and the majority of the permanent teeth have grown in. This usually happens between the ages of 8 and 14.

If problems start to show up at an earlier age, some orthodontists may recommend an interceptive approach. This involves the use of dental appliances other than braces while the child still has mostly baby teeth. As soon as adult teeth have developed, the 2nd phase of the treatment starts, now with dental braces. This phase is often shorter than the usual course because pre-treatment has been done.

How Long Should You Use Braces?

The time needed to complete the treatment varies for every patient, and this depends on the severity of the problem, the distance of the gaps between teeth, the health of the gums and supporting bones, and how closely the patient follows instructions.

On average, however, treatment may last for 1-3 years. After the braces are removed, most patients may still need to wear a retainer for at least 6 months and when they sleep afterward.

Talk with an orthodontist or holistic dentist in Durango, CO now to discuss when to get braces, if you need them.