What Is the Best Age to Get Braces for a Child

Updated: May 2, 2024 | Published:

You see those crooked teeth, how they struggle to bite into that apple, and even catch a little lisp when they’re excited… it makes you think, “Hmm, could it be time for braces?”

Figuring out if your kiddo needs braces can feel like a real puzzle.

They’re all growing at their own speed, and of course, you want what’s best for their health and that big, beautiful smile!

Why Seeing an Orthodontist Early Matters

You might think, “Seven years old? But they still have baby teeth!” However, the American Association of Orthodontists actually recommends that the first visit be around age seven.

Why so soon?

It might seem funny to think about braces when those baby teeth are still stubbornly in place, but your child’s jaw is changing fast, and those adult teeth are making themselves at home.

An orthodontist has a special eye for spotting little issues that might turn into bigger headaches down the road.

Here’s what those early visits can do:

  • Catch the Troublemakers: Things like overbites, underbites, and super-crowded teeth. Those issues might already be obvious even before all those adult teeth are in.
  • Sometimes, You Can Get Ahead of the Game: There’s something called “Phase One” treatment. Think of it as an early head start for your child’s smile – special appliances to fix things now that can make braces simpler later (or maybe even avoid them altogether!)
  • That “All Clear” Feeling is Priceless: If everything looks good, your orthodontist will tell you so! Regular checkups from then on will give you that peace of mind.

So, When Are Braces Usually the Answer?

While that early checkup is key, when kids actually need braces, it can differ. Most kids get started between the ages of 9 and 14. This timing hits the spot because:

  • The Jaw is Just Right: Their jawbone is still growing a bit, so teeth are easier to move into place.
  • Full Set of Adult Teeth (Mostly): Having those permanent teeth in lets the orthodontist plan the whole picture for a great smile.
  • Kids ‘Get It’ at This Age: Most kids understand why braces are important and are willing to keep them nice and clean.

But Remember, Every Kid is Unique!

There’s no one-size-fits-all age. Here’s why your orthodontist might suggest even earlier treatment… or maybe waiting a bit:

  • Big Problems Need Fast Action: If there are serious bite issues or super crooked teeth, it might be better not to wait so worse problems don’t happen later.
  • Every Kid Grows Differently: Some kids hit those growth milestones way earlier than others, so their perfect braces timing might be earlier, too.
  • Is Your Child Ready?: Some kids need a little more time to get on board with the idea of braces and the extra care they take.

Nope! Adults Can Absolutely Get Braces Too!

Teen years might seem like “braces time,” but the truth is, folks of all ages fix their smiles!

The great thing is that braces aren’t just for kids anymore! If you’ve always wished for a straighter smile, it’s definitely possible.

Just be aware that for grown-ups, the process might take a little more time or need some slightly fancier tricks.

Braces Today (They’re Not Like You Remember!)

Best Age to Get Braces for a Child

Forget those “train track” braces some of us remember! Today’s options are way more comfortable and way less obvious. Here’s the lowdown:

  • Classic Metal Braces: These get the job done and are often the most budget-friendly (which matters!).
  • Clear Braces: Same idea as metal, but the parts on your teeth blend in more easily.
  • Clear Aligners (like Invisalign): Super popular, especially for teens and adults. A series of clear plastic trays gently shift teeth – almost invisible!

Need Clues Your Kid Might Need Braces? Here’s What to Watch For

  • Baby Teeth Lost Too Soon (or Too Late): This can throw off where new teeth grow.
  • Chewing or Biting Seems Tough, Especially if they always use one side of their mouth.
  • Teeth Packed in Like Sardines: Very common sign that braces are in their future.
  • Jaws That Make Noises: Shifting, clicking…not a good sign for how things line up.
  • Hard to Say Certain Sounds: Some bite problems can mess with how your child talks.
  • Finger or Thumb Sucking Past Toddler Years: Those habits can mess with how their jaw forms.

The Smile Journey: What to Expect

Ok, time to be real. Braces are a commitment – keeping them clean, the appointments… it’s work! But, the payoff is HUGE. Here’s the usual flow:

  • That Big First Visit: X-rays, photos, your orthodontist figuring out their smile puzzle.
  • The Treatment Talk: They explain ALL your options, how long things might take, and costs… no surprises.
  • Checkups All Along the Way: Getting braces tightened (or switching aligner trays) and making sure everything is moving according to plan.

Give Your Child a Smile That Shines

Braces take effort, but fixing those tooth troubles in childhood… well, that’s a gift! Kids feel more confident, avoid worse problems later, and have a smile they’re proud of for life.

If you’re even a little unsure about your child’s teeth, find a great orthodontist.

They’re not just about braces; they’re your team for figuring out the healthiest path to that amazing smile!


  1. My kid is only 6, but a few adult teeth are already peeking in. Is it too early to worry about braces?

    Not at all! While 7 is the usual age for the first orthodontic visit, getting a quick peek at those early adult teeth can be smart. Some problems are easiest to fix while things are still growing and changing, saving your child more complicated treatment later on.

  2. My kid is scared of the dentist. Will getting braces be extra stressful?

    That’s completely understandable! Find an orthodontist who is amazing with kids. They understand those fears and will take things slowly, explaining each step to put your child at ease. Lots of orthodontists even have fun office environments to make the whole experience less intimidating.

  3. Braces are expensive! Are there ways to make it more affordable?

    Definitely! Many orthodontic offices offer payment plans to spread the cost out. Your dental insurance might also cover a portion. Don’t hesitate to ask about financial options – a healthy smile shouldn’t be out of reach.


About Amy T. Smith

Amy is a mother, writer, and your go-to expert for real-life insights into parenting, health, and lifestyle. Amy holds a Master's degree in Journalism from Columbia University and prides herself on finding actionable tips and relatable tales.

Through her blog, AmyandRose, she supports you from pregnancy to the teenage years, offering assurance that your experiences are shared.

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