What’s the Best Age for Braces? Part 2


In Part 1, we introduced 7 principles of braces that support our goal of providing quality orthodontic care to all of our patients. All of these principles relate to selecting the best timing of braces. We’d like to avoid starting braces too early, making the patient wear braces longer than necessary, or starting treatment too late, which could lead to missing an opportunity to achieve the best result possible.

As you may have previously read in Part 1, these are the 7 principles that support quality braces care:

1) Make treatment as simple as possible and still get the best result obtainable.

2) Treat to minimize irreversible problems.

3) If a current problem can cause other problems, keep that from happening, when reasonable.

4) Provide treatment that maximizes stability.

5) Consider the benefits to the patient of achieving a beautiful smile as soon as reasonable.

6) Avoid treatment that suffers from delays.

7) Minimize treatment costs in money and time.

In part 1, we discussed principles 1 through 3. Let’s now review the remaining principles:

Principle 4: Provide treatment that maximizes stability.

Teeth can have a tendency to move back toward where they came from. If teeth can be prevented from becoming very crooked, they will have less of a tendency to move back after they have been aligned. If a patient can be prevented from growing into a severe problem there will be less of a tendency for the problem to return. Providing the right care at the right time can ensure major benefits in this area. Knowing how to do this requires expert knowledge and experience. After braces, retainers are always used to protect the correction while the bone and soft tissues around the teeth are getting used to the new positions. Proper use of the various kinds of retainers is very important in providing stability of the orthodontic correction.

Principle 5: Consider the benefits of the patient achieving a beautiful smile as soon as reasonable.

If a young child, say ages 7-10, has very protruding or crooked upper front teeth and is suffering from a social stigma or reduced self-esteem from this problem, correcting this early can be a meaningful improvement in the young person’s quality of life. An early phase of orthodontic care should be considered in this situation. Parents can be alerted to these problems when they notice upper front teeth that are a distraction to their child’s appearance or hear about other kids bothering their child about their looks.

6) Avoid treatment that suffers from delays.

Careful comprehensive analysis of an orthodontic problem is necessary to properly plan the timing of braces. If there are certain problems that can’t be treated right away, those problems can delay the progress of care and unnecessarily lengthen the treatment time for the patient. Typically, in this area are teeth that are late to form and erupt, thus having to wait on them before further braces progress can be seen. Knowing how to identify these potential problems is very important to keeping the timing of braces just right.

7) Minimize treatment costs in money and time.

Timing of braces for great efficiency saves appointment visits and also reduces the amount of time patients and parents have to spend getting to and at appointments. Also, fewer appointments reduce the doctor’s cost of providing care! When the best age for braces is carefully selected, reducing time costs for patients and financial costs for the doctor ‘s care can be kept down. Knowing how to do this while still providing the highest quality care requires expert skills and knowledge that an orthodontist can provide for you and your child.

With these 7 principles at work, patients can receive the highest quality orthodontic care with the least expense in time and money. Structuring the optimum timing of braces by starting not too early and not too late for the specific patient’s problem allows all of this to happen. Expert orthodontic skill, care and judgment allow determining the best age for braces and provides the patient with the highest quality orthodontic care.