Are there Age Limits for Orthodontic Treatments?

Once upon a time “metal mouth” and headgear were just a couple of the awkward implications of getting braces. Thankfully, those days are long gone and have been replaced with a seemingly plethora of treatment options for straightening teeth and fixing bite issues. In 1999, a new treatment modality entered the orthodontics market which would dramatically change the demographic of patients who sought out services — the Invisalign® system.

With Invisalign’s clear aligner trays, adults who put off getting their teeth straightened now could address their teeth placement and bite issues. Not only that, but they could get the smile they always wanted, and could do so without the embarrassment of wearing traditional braces or dealing with adjusting their eating habits during a lengthy treatment, or worse yet, constantly picking food out of their braces after every meal. 

With both adolescents and adults getting braces you may wonder if there are age limits or in other words if you can be too young or too old to get orthodontic treatment. Not really, says our own Dr. Pendleton. In this blog, he provides a big picture view of orthodontics so that you can better understand the keys to successful orthodontic treatment.

How braces work

To work through the question of age let’s first take a look at the mechanics of orthodontics or more specifically how teeth are moved and realigned during orthodontic treatment. Whether you go with a clear aligner treatment like Invisalign or traditional braces it all comes down to bone resorption and ossification.

Here’s the scoop. Bones have two kinds of cells that play a role in realigning teeth. Over the course of an orthodontic treatment plan your teeth gently move to new positions. During this time bone cells called osteoclasts break down old bone, which in turn are reabsorbed into the bloodstream.

Once your teeth are straightened and move into their new optimal positions cells called

osteoblasts build new bones through the ossification process. There are two important functions of the ossification process — to provide a strong foundation for your teeth in their new position and to set up a good working relationship with your jawbone. Every time you chew and bite, osteoblasts work to continue to strengthen the bone. This further stabilizes your teeth in their new permanent positions.

Need a set of permanent teeth

You probably noticed that this technical description of the mechanics of orthodontic treatment never mentions age, and for good reason. When it comes to orthodontic treatment successful outcomes aren’t about age. One of the thresholds that typically dictate the when of getting orthodontic treatment is that the patient should have a set of permanent teeth.

Whether you’re eight or 80 your teeth have the capability to move and realign in response to forces being placed on them over time. The reason that you see orthodontic treatment generally begin between the ages eight and 14 is because that’s the timeframe when teeth alignment and abnormal bites become more obvious.

Strong and healthy jaw and teeth are important

Similarly having healthy teeth, gums and a strong and healthy jawbone are also common prerequisites to orthodontics treatment. For instance, if a patient has gum disease, untreated cavities or other dental health issues, your provider typically tackles those issues before starting an orthodontic treatment plan.

The good news is whether you’re a child or an adult healthy, straight teeth are timeless and ageless. You can capture a beautiful, healthy smile at any age.

If you’re seeking orthodontic treatment for your child or for yourself, and want to learn more about what type of treatment option is best for you, contact Pendleton Orthodontics for a consultation. We offer a highly customized approach to orthodontics and can walk you through the entire process.

For patient convenience, Dr. Pendleton and his team offers a special service called Dental Monitoring for Invisalign patients. Through this service the team does weekly check-ins remotely, which greatly reduces the number of visits required for in-office appointments. 

To get started on your journey to your best smile, request an appointment online, call us at 512-598-9942 or text us at 325-240-5640 today.