When To Get Braces

What’s the ideal age for orthodontic treatment, or is there one?

There is not an ideal age for orthodontic treatment. Teeth alignment can be improved at any age, as long as you have healthy gums and bone structure. While teenagers and children make up the majority of orthodontic patients, adults account for nearly 25% of all patients who seek orthodontic care. Orthodontic treatment can be preventative—moving teeth, changing jaw position, or holding other teeth in place to help guide the desired development—but it can also be effective in restoring proper alignment from years of poor dental health or harmful habits.

In general, if you are growing concerned about your or your child’s alignment, the earlier the intervention, the better. The process of moving teeth is the same in children as it is in adults, though greater bone density means adult treatment make take a little longer. Some treatments cannot be considered for adults, whose faces and jaws are done growing.

A family smiles as they wait patiently in dental depots lobby

When Should Children Get Braces?

The American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) recommends that children with jaw-growth or tooth problems first visit the orthodontist as early as age five or six, but most other children can wait until age seven. By this age, there enough permanent teeth to give the orthodontist an idea of the developing teeth and jaws and identify potential problems.

Even if treatment does not begin at this age, you and the orthodontist can begin developing a treatment plan, including a schedule of periodic evaluations to assess changes in the growing face and jaws.

Your child may need an orthodontic exam if he or she:

  • Has trouble chewing or biting
  • Grinds their teeth, especially at night
  • Breathes through their mouth
  • Sucks their finger or thumb, or has developed other oral habits
  • Has crowded, misplaced, or blocked teeth
  • Experiences jaw shifting or clicking


The majority of orthodontic problems are best treated after your child has all of his or her permanent teeth. However, early treatment—or “interceptive treatment”—may be beneficial if the problem poses a risk to future development. Such problems may include:

  • Underbites – lower front teeth are ahead of upper front teeth
  • Crossbites – jaw shifts to one side
  • Crowded teeth
  • Teeth or jaw growth affected by thumb-, finger-, or pacifier-sucking
  • Teeth that don’t meet or that meet abnormally
  • Extra or missing teeth
  • Excessively spaced teeth

When Should Adults Get Braces?

Orthodontic treatment can help properly align your teeth, improving not just your smile but your oral health and function as well. Properly aligned teeth are easier to care for, and better care reduces the risk of teeth decay, gum disease, and other periodontal conditions. Proper alignment also helps prevent jaw and joint (TMJ/TMD) pain, headaches, and abnormal wear of tooth enamel and surfaces.

While the treatment for adults is essentially the same as for children, adults may have more fillings, misshapen or missing teeth, or other habits like smoking, teeth grinding, or jaw clenching that can affect results.

Dental Depot is committed to comprehensive dental services for you and your family’s oral health, from routine care and cleanings to orthodontic treatments. We are proud to provide a licensed orthodontist at our Oklahoma City metro orthodontic locations., giving you the consistency of care you deserve.

Schedule an Appointment Today!

For more information on your orthodontic treatment options, or to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our orthodontists, visit our website at to find an office near you.

Family sitting together in dental depot waiting room, smiling and filling out paperwork on tablet

Let's get

Schedule an Appointment

Request appointment at: