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When do I need braces?

Having crooked or misaligned teeth? Braces might be the right solution that you’ve been looking for.

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Written by NoFrills Dental

This dental article has been curated by the clinical team @ NoFrills Dental 🙂

December 29, 2021

braces lips

You may associate orthodontic treatment with youngsters, but it’s never too late to get braces. Braces have a high success rate among people of all ages in enhancing smiles and improving oral health.

Braces straighten misaligned teeth and correct bite problems, and they’ve improved vastly over the years. Advances in dental technology have resulted in braces that are sleeker, more comfortable, less conspicuous, and work faster.

Braces remain the best solution for complex orthodontic issues, with brackets, arch wires and ligature elastic bands that work together to progressively reposition teeth.

But how do you know when you need braces? You can find out here.

Signs you might need braces

An increasing number of adults are now getting braces for a variety of reasons – some obvious, others not so much. For instance, embarrassment over revealing crooked teeth when you smile is a common sign you need braces. However, you may not realise that if your jaw is making strange sounds, the cause could well be an orthodontic issue.

Braces may also help if you have a speech problem.

You may also need braces if you lost your primary teeth too soon. If your primary (baby) teeth fell out earlier than normal and the permanent (adult) teeth did not emerge for a while, this can affect development of adult teeth. Teeth that are visibly crooked are one of the more obvious signs you need braces. Left untreated, this can result in tooth decay or gum disease because the teeth are difficult to clean.

A skewed bite – teeth that don’t come together properly – is another indication you need braces.

spacing between teeth

Crowded or Gapped Teeth

Teeth crowding occurs when there’s lack of room in your mouth to accommodate all your teeth. It’s a common sign you need braces, without which the issue can get worse over time.

The opposite of crowding, gaps in teeth can be caused by a large jaw. In many cases, braces can reposition these teeth to eliminate excess spacing.

mismatched teeth size

Bite Problems

Issues with your bite are a sign you need braces to realign your jaw. Bite problems include:

  • Overbite – upper front teeth overlapping lower teeth. This increases the risk of damage to the teeth and your gums.
  • Crossbite – upper teeth biting on the inside of lower teeth. This can cause substantial wear of teeth, irregular jaw growth, and gum recession.
  • Underbite – the opposite of overbite, when the lower teeth project beyond the upper teeth. This can affect facial appearance and make eating difficult.
  • Open bite – upper and lower teeth failing to make proper contact. This can cause speech problems and difficulty eating.
Tooth pain due to TMD

TMD Issues

If your jaw makes clicking or popping noises when you open your mouth, it can indicate a condition called temporomandibular disorder (TMD).

Other signs you need braces for TMD include:

  • Tender jaw muscles.
  • Difficulty opening or closing your mouth
  • Headaches
  • Neck pain.
  • Grinding sounds when chewing.

Benefits of braces for adults

dentists discussing teeth xray

Research indicates that adults are just as likely as children and teens to benefit from braces, particularly when people are now generally living longer and keeping their teeth for life.

In many cases, adults get braces because their teeth have shifted over time because of natural changes in the mouth. This can happen even if you wore braces as a child. Your teeth can also be moved out of position through injury.

The risk of tooth decay increases as we get older, more so if your teeth are misaligned. Braces can help to safeguard your teeth and maintain a healthy smile. Braces also lessen the risk of gum disease, which is prevalent among adults.

Some adults get braces to facilitate dental implant treatment to replace missing teeth. For implants to be effective, the remaining teeth need to be straight.

As an adult, you may need to wear braces longer to get the same results as younger people, but it’s typically just a few years in exchange for a lifetime of healthy teeth.

How to tell if your child needs braces?

dentist showing thumbs up

It can be a little more difficult to determine when your child needs braces.

Crowded or crooked baby teeth can be an indication that braces will be necessary in the future, and other signs include:

  • Mouth breathing.
  • Clicking jaw.
  • Accidental tongue biting.
  • Thumb-sucking or using a pacifier after the age of two.
  • Early or late loss of baby teeth.
  • Teeth that don’t come together when closing the mouth.

When to see a dentist about getting braces?

The best age for getting braces varies from person to person.

Braces treatment typically begins when children are aged nine to 14, as they start to get their permanent teeth. Even if your child has no visible orthodontic issues, a check-up by a dentist may be beneficial.

Sometimes, getting braces during childhood may not be possible due to factors such as expense or lack of diagnosis. This is one reason so many adults find themselves in need of braces, and the sooner you see a dentist, the better.

Are there alternatives to braces?

Alternatives to traditional braces are provided by clear plastic aligners like Invisalign, ClearCorrect and Zenyum.

These aligners offer several advantages over standard fixed braces, including:

  • You can take your aligners out for meals and snacks and to clean your teeth.
  • The aligners are practically invisible when worn.
  • No metal components.

Braces treatment at NoFrills Dental

When teeth are straightened by braces, they’re easier to keep clean, which reduces the risk of cavities and gum disease. Braces also restore your smile and self-confidence and resolve issues with eating and speaking.

And the days of “metal mouth” references are long gone. Today’s braces are lighter and far more discreet. You can also choose from different types of braces. For instance, metal braces remain a popular choice but clear braces with ceramic brackets provide another option.

Singapore’s NoFrills Dental has been providing braces treatment for more than 15 years. We offer a range of types of braces, and can advise you on the best for your smile and your oral health.

Call us or contact us online if you need further help to decide whether you or a family member need braces.

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