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The surprising answer to parents’ first question about braces: ‘What’s the best age to get them?’

When you think about braces-wearers, the image that most likely comes to mind is that of a teenager, someone already in the throes of hormonal awkwardness, like the nerd in “Sixteen Candles” or the nerd in “Never Been Kissed” or the nerd in … hey, why is it always a nerd?

You might find this surprising, but over the years, the age of the average braces-wearer has been skewing younger — like elementary school young.

In fact, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that kids have their first visit with an orthodontist around the age of 7.

This is the standard for everyone, not just children with crooked or protruding teeth. And a consultation does not mean your child will be on the fast track to braces.

At this age, patients still have their baby teeth, which makes it an ideal time for orthodontists to check for and correct any problems with a child’s growth and jaw development.

Orthodontists will determine whether early intervention can help prevent the need for more difficult and costly treatment later, after all the adult teeth have come in. They can also give you an idea of what treatment might be necessary in the future, giving you some time to plan accordingly.

While the best age for kids to have their braces put on is generally between 10 and 14, certain patients might be candidates for two-phased orthodontic care that could start between the ages of 6 and 9.

Every patient’s needs are different, of course, which is why it’s important to talk with your orthodontist for a specific answer to this question rather than depend wholly on Google or other parents, which are good resources but can only give part of the picture.

At Bluffton Orthodontics we offer patients free consultations with the hope of putting parents’ minds and patient’s fears at ease while assessing a patient’s progress and possible needs. It is the perfect time to ask questions and get to know our staff. Give us a call at 843-815-2521to set up an appointment.

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