How to determine if you need braces

Gentle Dental September 26, 2017

How to determine if you need braces

Table of Contents

Are your teeth misaligned? Do you have an underbite or overbite? Whether you are embarrassed by your smile or experience discomfort due to structural issues, this comprehensive guide will tell you everything you need to know about corrective braces.

How to Know if You Need Braces

Dentists typically recommend braces to improve a person’s orofacial appearance. Generally speaking, orthodontic treatments are effective at correcting common issues such as

  • Overbites
  • Underbites
  • Incorrect jaw position
  • Crowded teeth
  • Certain disorders of the jaw joints.

When to Get Braces

Patients can benefit from braces at just about any age; however, when deciding whether to get braces for children, it’s usually best to wait until they are between the ages of 10 and 14. This is a key time when the mouth and head are still growing, and the teeth are more sensitive to straightening. At the same time, braces are not just for children. These days, more and more adults are wearing braces to improve their smiles and ease oral discomfort.

If You Have an Overbite, Do You Need Braces?

Many people decide to get braces to correct aesthetic and/or comfort issues surrounding an overbite. In most cases, braces can effectively correct a troublesome overbite; however, in rare instances, surgery may be necessary. If you are concerned about your overbite, consider meeting with a local dentist to get a professional evaluation.

Why Do People Need Braces?

There are a number of issues that can cause a person to require braces, including:

Small mouths:

Because they leave less room for teeth to grow, smaller mouths can promote crowding once permanent teeth begin growing.

Tongue Thrusting:

Some kids push their tongues forward against the lips, which can cause an open bite, a protrusion of teeth or other issues.

Extra teeth:

Some people develop extra teeth, which can cause crowding. Other people suffer traumatic injuries or untimely tooth loss, which can also cause dental issues.

Misaligned jaw structure:

This can affect the bite and cause difficulty chewing. It can also contribute to Temporomandibular Joint Disorder.

Bad habits:

Some people may experience alignment issues, when they engage in thumb sucking during and beyond infancy.

While accidents and bad habits can cause alignment problems, most people inherit their dental issues. Just like every other part of body, genetics play a key role in determining whether our teeth will be straight or crooked. If your parents needed braces, there’s a good chance you will too.

What Kind Of Braces Are Available?

A qualified dentist will recommend a specific type of braces, depending on your unique needs. That said, the choice will usually be up to you. There are three basic types of braces: metal, brackets and plastic, the latter of which are much less noticeable. Lingual braces include brackets that affix to the rear portions of the teeth to stay out of view. Bands are the traditional form of braces, which cover the majority of teeth with metal bands. Most braces use wires to slowly force teeth into the desired position.

Many children and adults prefer modern, non-metallic braces, because they are less noticeable. These consist of custom-engineered plastic aligners that look like the mouth guards worn during some sports. Plastic aligners are removable and come in a series of 18 to 30 molds, which are replaced every two weeks. These types of braces come with positives and negatives. On the good side, they are nearly invisible and come with fewer dietary restrictions. On the downside, they are costly, may need to be worn longer and can be lost easily. They are also not appropriate for children or for serious dental issues.

How Long Will I Have To Wear Braces?

This depends on your individual needs and treatment plan. Most patients will need to wear their braces for between 18 to 30 months. The older you are and the more complicated your spacing issue, the longer you will need to wear your braces. You will also need to wear a retainer for a few months up to two years to keep tissues aligned. Some people have to wear permanent retainers to prevent their bites from returning to their previous positions.

Do Braces Hurt?

Most people experience no discomfort when they are getting their braces. That said, to effectively move teeth into the desired position, interconnecting wires must be tightened at every visit. This involves applying mild pressure on the bands or brackets to shift the jaw or teeth. Depending on your unique spacing issues, you may experience soreness after each tightening. This discomfort is usually mild, however, and goes away within a few hours or a couple days.

Will I Need to Have Teeth Pulled for Braces?

If the dentist determines that your teeth are too crowded to provide adequate room for shifting, he or she may recommend that you have one or more teeth extracted. This will create adequate room for your teeth to settle in the desired position. Thanks to modern dental treatments, extractions are usually painless with some mild soreness hours after the procedures.

Who Will Provide My Orthodontic Treatment?

Most people rely on their family general dentist to coordinate their orthodontic treatment plans, which will involve examinations, diagnosis and corrective procedures. In many instances, a general dentist will refer clients to an orthodontist; however, this is not always the case.

How Much Do Braces Cost?

The cost of braces will depend based on the treatment needed, insurance coverage , type of braces, and location. In most cases, insurance will not cover the cost of braces for adults; however, you will need a thorough evaluation with your orthodontist to know for sure.

This information has been reviewed by the Gentle Dental Clinical review committee.

This article was medically reviewed by Lewis Chen, DDS, FICOI, FIADFE. Dr. Lewis Chen is a licensed Dentist in both New York and New Jersey, specializing in providing high-quality oral care in the form of preventative care. He holds an Economics degree from New York University. Dr. Chen earned his doctorate at Columbia University College of Dental Medicine. He graduated top of his class with the highest honors and distinction and was nominated and inducted into the only renowned, national dental honor society, Omicron Kappa Upsilon (OKU). He then completed a comprehensive training program at the Bronx VA Medical Center and, shortly after, decided to pursue multiple practice ownership and management. Dr. Chen has acquired numerous accolades over the years, including New York Academy of Dentistry Exemplary Professional Conduct Award, Academy of General Dentistry Outstanding General Practitioner Award, American Academy of Implant Dentistry Award, and Pierre Fauchard Foundation Award.

There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 16 testimonials and 80% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status.

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Many people associate white, even teeth with health and beauty. If your teeth aren’t naturally straight, though, you can consider braces either for cosmetic reasons or to address medical issues. But how do you tell whether your teeth could really benefit from braces? And what do you do if you think you need braces? There are some simple steps you can take to figure this out.

Are you trying to figure out how to know if you need braces? You’re in the right place. We’ve gathered all of the expert advice into one succinct guide, so you can tell if you need braces.

While you might be anxious to get braces, they are essential for correcting the position of your teeth. The process can benefit your speech and ability to chew. Overall, you will want to know sooner rather than later if you need braces.

Crowding in your teeth can cause harm to your oral health. It makes it harder to brush a certain tooth, which leads to decay and cavities over time. While braces can be uncomfortable to wear for months, you will be saving your teeth and improving your smile.

Plus, braces can improve speech, reduce difficulty eating, and help prevent you from biting your tongue. Here’s what you should know.

Table of contents

Signs you may need braces

Many problems arise when you need braces. Your front teeth might not be close enough together or you could have a risk of tooth decay from tightly packed teeth. No matter the reason, you will want to know the signs you need braces.

An adult may need braces if they have the following symptoms:

  • Overcrowded or crooked teeth
  • Trouble flossing between their teeth
  • Teeth that don’t overlap properly when your mouth is resting
  • Trouble pronouncing certain sounds
  • Clicking jaws
  • Your jaw feels tired after you eat
  • You often bite your tongue or it rubs on your teeth
  • Narrow roof of your mouth

You will want to talk with your dentist about orthodontic treatment. They can take x-rays and see how your teeth look inside your mouth. Some offer a free consultation, so it would be worthwhile to use if you think you may need treatment.

Finally, if you are an adult, don’t worry! There are plenty of options for treatment, including ones that other people won’t be able to see. Orthodontics has come a long way, with invisible aligners now on the scene.

Can you get braces even if your teeth are straight?

Even if your teeth appear to be straight, you still may have problems with jaw alignment that should be addressed. Braces may help realign the jaw for a more comfortable bite. If you feel like your bite doesn’t line up properly, talk with your orthodontist.

Signs your child needs braces

The best way to determine if your child needs orthodontic treatment is to schedule an appointment for them. Orthodontists will be able to properly examine their teeth and let you know what you need to do to correct them. Your dentist can recommend an orthodontist that they trust.

These are some signs your child might need braces:

  • They breathe through their mouth
  • Their jaws click or make noises
  • They bite their tongue or cheek often
  • They have crooked teeth or an overbite
  • A baby tooth never fell out, but an adult one is coming in
  • They suck their thumb or used a pacifier after the age of 2
  • There is overcrowding
  • They have poor oral hygiene or poor nutrition

Many experts recommend that you take your kids to see an orthodontist when they are young before the full development of their jaw. That way, they can determine if they need braces early on. Additionally, many insurance companies help cover the cost of braces for children, as long as they are medically necessary.

If your child has issues speaking, chewing, or drinking, they likely have misaligned teeth. The sooner you can correct the problems the better, because they will likely only get worse. Straightening teeth does improve appearance, but it can also improve a child’s quality of life.

Orthodontics can correct the following common problems:

  • Bad spacing or gaps
  • Front teeth that stick out
  • Teeth that overlap
  • An underbite or overbite
  • Incorrect jaw alignment

Set up a consultation with an orthodontist near you to talk about your child’s teeth. The sooner you can address the problem, the better.

What age is best for getting braces?

Young children tend to get better results because their teeth are easier to align. The typical age for children to get braces is between 8 and 14 years old after all of their baby teeth are gone. Even so, adults can have very successful orthodontic treatment as well.

Conclusion

In some cases, it may be obvious that you need braces, for instance, if you have severely crooked or crowded teeth. However, there are other times when the need for orthodontic treatment may not be so obvious.

If you have concerns, talk with your orthodontist. Adults getting orthodontic treatment for cosmetic reasons is very common today, so don’t hesitate to talk with them. They may be able to improve your jaw and help align your teeth.

Overall, orthodontic treatment is great for your smile and oral health — so you don’t want to skip it if you need it.

How to determine if you need braces

  • How to Know if You Need Braces
  • Signs You Need Braces

How to Know if You Need Braces

Braces have proven to be highly effective for straightening teeth and fixing other orthodontic problems. Braces can be used to treat many different oral conditions, beyond cosmetic reasons. Depending on your specific condition, braces may be the best option for your oral health and cosmetic appearance.

Seeing an Orthodontist

How to determine if you need braces

If you see your dentist every six months, then your dentist will be able to determine if a full evaluation for braces is needed. Your specific condition will determine the appropriate age to correct your problem. Some problems are best treated at an early age, even before the majority of baby teeth have been replaced by permanent teeth. In fact, the average age for a first visit to the orthodontist is seven years old. 1

However, other problems may have to be treated at a later age when all or most of the baby teeth have fallen out. It is becoming increasingly common for adults to wear braces or undergo other orthodontic treatment options. Correcting an orthodontic problem can make daily oral hygiene easier, resulting in better oral health.

Signs You Need Braces

Below is a list of orthodontic conditions that can be treated with braces:

How to determine if you need braces

  • Early, late, or irregular loss of baby teeth
  • Adult teeth came in late or delayed
  • Teeth that meet abnormally or not at all
  • Jaws and teeth are out of proportion to the rest of the face
  • Crowded, misplaced, or blocked-out teeth
  • Missing or extra teeth
  • An overbite or underbite
  • Jaw shifting or making sounds, which could signify a developmental issue with your teeth and jawline
  • Incorrect jaw position
  • A disorder of the jaw joint
  • Constantly biting the sides of your cheek or hitting the roof of your mouth
  • Having a difficult time chewing food
  • Having to breathe through your mouth on a regular basis

1. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends a first evaluation visit to the orthodontist no later than age 7.

How to determine if you need braces

Many people associate white, even teeth with health and beauty.

If your teeth aren’t naturally straight, though, you can consider braces either for cosmetic reasons or to address medical issues.

But how do you tell whether your teeth could really benefit from braces? And what do you do if you think you need braces?

There are some simple steps you can take to figure this out. Here’s a list of them below:

1. Look for crowded or crooked teeth

These are called malocclusions. Warning signs include teeth that look as though they’re sitting sideways, teeth that overlap each other, and teeth that protrude significantly farther than the surrounding teeth. Crowding is the most common issue addressed by braces

To determine whether your teeth are crowded, you can use dental floss. If floss is very difficult to slide between teeth, your teeth may be crowded too closely together.

2. Understand how malocclusion may affect you

Teeth that are crowded or too close together may make it difficult even for dental professionals to properly clean them. The buildup of plaque on teeth can cause abnormal enamel wear, cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease.

Gum disease is one of the leading factors in the development of periodontitis, and patients with crowded teeth have a high risk of developing this disease.

3. Look for teeth that seem too far apart

Crowding isn’t the only situation that can cause problems. If you have missing teeth, proportionally small teeth, or large gaps between your teeth, this could also impair the functioning of your bite and jaw. Spacing is one of the more common issues addressed by braces.

4. Examine your bite

When you bite down, your teeth should fit together. If there is a large space between your upper and lower teeth, or if your upper or lower teeth protrude significantly past the others, you may have bite problems that need to be corrected with braces.

5. Understand how bite problems may affect you

When your bite is misaligned, your chances of having plaque and decaying food particles build up on and between teeth increase. This plaque and decaying food can lead to periodontal disease, gingivitis, dental abscesses, and even tooth loss, making brushing and cleaning very difficult and in most cases incomplete.

6. Determine whether you get food stuck in your teeth

Routinely getting food stuck in your teeth can create a haven for bacteria that can lead to gum disease and tooth decay. Braces can help eliminate gaps or pockets in between teeth that trap bacteria and food particles.

7. Smell your breath

Frequent or persistent bad breath, even after brushing and flossing your teeth, may be a sign that bacteria are being trapped between crooked or crowded teeth and also that pockets might be present, which will lead to pus in your gums.

8. Consider whether you get frequent jaw pain

If your jaw is misaligned, it may put extra stress on your temporomandibular joints, the hinges that attach your jaw to your head. If you frequently experience soreness or pain in this area, you may need braces to properly align your jaw and to correct your bite, which is causing unequal tensions in the TMJ.

9. Talk with your dentist about your teeth

While dentists do not have the specialized training that orthodontists have, they are a good place to start for advice about your teeth. A dentist may be able to help you decide if you should see an orthodontist about your teeth and jaws.

How to determine if you need braces

These are called malocclusions. Warning signs include teeth that look as though they’re sitting sideways, teeth that overlap each other, and teeth that protrude significantly farther than the surrounding teeth. Crowding is the most common issue addressed by braces

To determine whether your teeth are crowded, you can use dental floss. If floss is very difficult to slide between teeth, your teeth may be crowded also closely together.

2. Understand how malocclusion may affect you

Teeth that are crowded or also close together may make it difficult even for dental professionals to properly clean them. The buildup of plaque on teeth can cause abnormal enamel wear, cavities, alsoth decay, and gum disease.

Gum disease is one of the leading factors in the development of periodontitis, and patients with crowded teeth have a high risk of developing this disease.

3. Scrutinize for teeth that seem also far apart

Crowding isn’t the only situation that can cause problems. If you have missing teeth, proportionally small teeth, or large gaps between your teeth, this could also impair the functioning of your bite and jaw. Spacing is one of the more common issues addressed by braces.

4. Examine your bite

When you bite down, your teeth should fit together. If there is a large space between your upper and lower teeth, or if your upper or lower teeth protrude significantly past the others, you may have bite problems that need to be corrected with braces.

5. Understand how bite problems may affect you

When your bite is misaligned, your chances of having plaque and decaying food particles build up on and between teeth increase. This plaque and decaying food can lead to periodontal disease, gingivitis, dental abscesses, and even alsoth loss, making brushing and cleaning very difficult and in most cases incomplete.

6. Determine whether you get food stuck in your teeth

Routinely getting food stuck in your teeth can create a haven for bacteria that can lead to gum disease and alsoth decay. Braces can help eliminate gaps or pockets in between teeth that trap bacteria and food particles.

7. Smell your breath

Frequent or persistent bad breath, even after brushing and flossing your teeth, may be a sign that bacteria are being trapped between crooked or crowded teeth and also that pockets might be present, which will lead to pus in your gums.

8. Consider whether you get frequent jaw pain

If your jaw is misaligned, it may put extra stress on your temporomandibular joints, the hinges that attach your jaw to your head. If you frequently experience soreness or pain in this area, you may need braces to properly align your jaw and to correct your bite, which is causing unequal tensions in the TMJ.

9. Talk with your dentist about your teeth

While dentists do not have the specialized training that orthodontists have, they are a good place to start for advice about your teeth. A dentist may be able to help you decide if you should see an orthodontist about your teeth and jaws.

The more you understand yourself, the more silence there is, the healthier you are. —Maxime Lagacé

How to determine if you need braces

This time, we’re looking at “How to know if you need braces” in the Webb Orthodontics blog.

From the age of seven to adults of all ages, braces can transform smiles and improve oral health.

Today, as many as one in five orthodontic patients seeking treatment today are adults. So, you can get started at any age with significant improvements to oral health and appearance. Today, braces and Invisalign are advanced, discreet, and efficient.

At Webb Orthodontics, award-winning treatment is affordable, with flexible financing and same-day braces. Your smile is yours forever, and we want to make it as easy as possible for you to receive the best orthodontic care.

Now, let’s take a look at some signs that may indicate you would benefit from braces.

How to Know if You Need Braces

Do you or your child need braces? There are some signs to look for. First, we’ll look at signs a child may need braces.

Kids may need braces for many reasons, such as genetic predisposition, oral health, and nutritional issues. Over time, habits like thumb-sucking can slowly move teeth out of alignment.

What to Look For

Here are some signs a child may need braces:

  • Breathing from the mouth
  • Problems chewing or biting
  • Biting the roof of the mouth or inside of the cheek
  • Early, late, or irregular loss of baby teeth
  • Thumb-sucking or similar habits past age two
  • Teeth that are crowded or appear misaligned or irregular
  • Jaws that shift, protrude, or look recessed or out of proportion to the face
  • Clicking or other sounds in the jaw

If you notice any of these issues or suspect your child may need orthodontic care, contact Webb Orthodontics. Notably, you don’t need a dentist’s referral, and your first visit is complimentary.

Signs Adults May Need Braces

Today, most adults have imperfect smiles, with only around 35% having ideally aligned teeth. In many cases, a malocclusion is present (misaligned teeth). As we age, these misalignments will worsen if left untreated.

Most commonly, people have an overbite, but there are many other malocclusions. See more here. Fortunately, braces can correct all kinds of misalignments. Then, you can avoid oral health concerns, such as:

  • Tooth decay and wear
  • Losing a tooth and resulting bone loss
  • Periodontal (gum) disease
  • Problems chewing
  • Painful jaw problems and TMJ symptoms
  • Worsening misalignments over time
  • Negative changes to one’s appearance

If you suspect you have a malocclusion, get a free consultation from Webb Orthodontics. Then, you can find out if you need braces or if you’re a candidate for Invisalign. Today, you can also get started from home with a free virtual consultation.

Also, here are some other signs you may need braces:

  • Speech impediment
  • Difficulty flossing and brushing between teeth
  • Biting your tongue

Fortunately, orthodontic treatment can help you eliminate problems like these. Braces and Invisalign can transform smiles, helping you feel better and more confident than ever before.

Please, check out our Success Stories for examples of how we’ve helped transform smiles in the Charlotte area.

We hope this information about “How to know if you need braces” has been helpful. Have any questions? Call us anytime at (704) 364-7343.

Click here to get started with your free virtual consultation, or click the “Book Online” button on the screen’s top right to schedule a complimentary consultation. Our friendly team is looking forward to meeting you!

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When you’re in middle or high school, it might seem as if a new classmate comes to school every day with braces on their teeth. As the New York Times reported, almost 4.3 million children age 17 or younger received orthodontic treatment in 2016.

If you’re a teen or preteen wondering if you might need braces soon, this Do I Need Braces quiz can help you out. Take the quiz, then give your family dentist a call (or have a parent do it) to schedule a checkup for your teeth.

1. Did you suck your thumb as a child?

  1. Yes
  2. No

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends scheduling a consultation with an orthodontist if you sucked your thumb or any fingers as a small child. If you continued a thumb sucking habit after age 5, it might have had an effect on the formation of your adult teeth, according to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

2. Do you have trouble chewing or biting?

  1. Yes
  2. No

Difficulty chewing food or biting down can be a sign of malocclusion, or teeth that aren’t aligned correctly, notes the National Institutes of Health. Braces can often help correct a misaligned bite, making it easier for you to chew and bite down.

3. Did you lose your baby teeth early?

  1. Yes
  2. No

The average child starts to lose their baby teeth around age 6, as the American Dental Association points out. If you lost your baby teeth significantly before then, it could be a sign that you may need braces, according to the AAO.

4. Did you lose your baby teeth late?

  1. Yes
  2. No

Just as losing your baby teeth early can be a sign that you may need braces later on, so can losing your baby teeth later than average, the AAO notes.

5. Are there gaps between your teeth?

  1. Yes
  2. No

Orthodontic treatment can help to treat diastema, or larger-than-average spaces between the teeth. As the AAO explains, having gaps between the teeth can make it easier for food to get stuck in the spaces and can increase your risk of cavities or gum disease.

6. Do your teeth overlap?

  1. Yes
  2. No

If there is not much space in your jawbone or if you have large teeth, it can appear as though you have crowding in your mouth. In some cases, the teeth may overlap, too, which can make it difficult to clean between them. As the AAO notes, overcrowded teeth can be more likely to develop cavities and may benefit from correction.

7. How old are you?

  1. Under age 7
  2. Between ages 7 and 14
  3. Over age 14

The AAO recommends seeing an orthodontist for a consultation by age 7, or as soon as you or your parents notice any issues with your teeth or bite, such as spacing, overcrowding or misalignment. According to the Mayo Clinic, the ideal time for braces is between the ages of 8 and 14, after you’ve lost most of your baby teeth and have many of your permanent teeth. If you’re older than 14, it’s still not too late to see an orthodontist and get braces if you need them.

How Did You Do?

If you (or your child) answered “yes” to any of the first six questions above, it may be a good idea to schedule a consultation with an orthodontist to see if braces could correct your teeth or bite and give you more confidence in your smile.

During that first visit, an orthodontist will do a dental examination of your teeth, determine how your bite is, take a panoramic x-ray and answer any questions you or your parents have. They’ll let you know what their recommended treatment is, about how long treatment will take and how much braces will cost.

This Do I Need Braces quiz is just a starting point. Your family dentist and orthodontist can help you figure out your next steps and ensure you get the best treatment for your smile.