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How to Know If You Really Need Braces

Reasons to Get Braces

how to know if you need braces

There are many reasons to get braces, and the main reason why people do need braces is to correct a problem. Your dentist will talk about your specific issue and how they could be related to any of the following conditions:

  • Misaligned jaw
  • Sinus and nasal problems
  • Tooth formation problems (such as not enough room in your mouth for all your teeth)

You may need braces for any or all of these conditions. In most of the cases, it is a true medical need for braces. Over time, any of these problems may cause issues with your ability to eat, talk, or move your neck properly. In a clinical sense, the need for braces is to fix a health issue and those people who do need braces should not wait to get them.

However, there are some people that do not need braces and obtain them for cosmetic reasons. This is very true of many of the celebrities who have used braces. They wanted perfect teeth, not to correct a problem. This is also a valid reason for wanting to get braces, but it is not a need.

Whether your dentist/orthodontist recommended getting braces or you feel the need to correct a problem, be sure to talk to your dentist/orthodontist about the correct procedures, the timeline, and what type of braces you will need. In many cases, there are several options available and you will be able to make the right choice to correct the problem and look your best.

Emotional Considerations when Getting Braces

In the US, nearly a quarter of the entire population will have had braces. It is very stereotypical to think that braces will make you look ugly. It has been a point of comic relief in movies and books to use braces to represent kids that are outcasts, unusual, or nerds.

However, we want to tell you that how you will look with braces is completely up to you. If you feel attractive wearing braces, you will come across as attractive.

Those of you, who feel braces will make you look better and that you will wear your braces with confidence, portray confidence and attractiveness. It is the reason many people look good with braces.

For many people, one of the best ways to look cute with your braces is to smile. Yes, we know that displays the braces and it also displays a tremendous confidence. It is not the shape of your teeth or the way they are formed that gives a person attractiveness or poise.

This is a very mature topic for people to have the ability to recognize their own self-worth. If you are still in high school this might seem ridiculous, but we can assure you that it is not. Those of us who write for this website know the problems of having crooked teeth.

Speaking from direct example, I can tell you the year I decided to ignore what others said about my teeth and hold my head up high was the year all of the comments stopped. It was no longer a weakness they could prey upon, so they moved on to easier targets.

Your teeth are only one aspect of you and your personality. Let the world know that you can be confident, even with crooked teeth or braces.

Signs of Needing Braces

There are many subtle signs that let people know that they may think they need braces. There are many people who are unaware they need braces at all until the dentist/orthodontist says something.

If you are one of the many people who have been told you need braces, compare yourself to many of these symptoms and see if you fall into any of the categories:

  • Pain in any part of your mouth
  • A jaw that clicks
  • Twisted or crooked teeth
  • Teeth that point in or out of your mouth
  • Gaps or overlaps
  • Bottom teeth in front of top teeth
  • Front teeth that stick far beyond your bottom teeth
  • Your back teeth do not come together evenly
  • Your jaw is not centered and even on both sides
  • Congestion in your nose and throat
  • Swollen glands in the back of your throat

This is a rather big list, and we're sure that your dentist/orthodontist may find many more reasons. When your dentist/orthodontist brings up the issue of needing braces, you will also need to talk about when you will need braces. Some issues may resolve over time, while others may get worse.

When to Get Braces for the First Time

In the vast majority of the cases, you will get your braces after your adult teeth come in and when you are still growing. It is a very rare circumstance that you can get braces with baby teeth. Most dentists/orthodontists do not feel the need to adjust these teeth when the adult teeth often grow in slightly different. Only in exceptional circumstances will a dentist/orthodontist give young child braces.

Not all kids need braces, but some do. The molars in a child's mouth come in at approximately 12 to 13 years of age, it is generally after this a dentist/orthodontist will recommend braces. Many dentists/orthodontists will also recommend getting braces before the age of 18 since the wisdom teeth come in between the ages of 17 and 24.

If your dentist/orthodontist waits until after your wisdom teeth come in, you may have the recommendation of getting braces while you are in your 20s. At this point in time, your mouth is still malleable enough that your teeth will move easily.

best time for dental braces

If you wait to get braces at the age of 30 or older, you may have a more difficult time finding a dentist/orthodontist who will add braces for purely cosmetic reasons. After the age of 25 to 30, many of your bones have reached full maturity and the jaw is no exception. It will take longer and may be more painful to get braces at this age because of the difficult time of adjusting bones in your adulthood.

At Home Tests

There are many ‘do I need braces’ tests and quizzes out there from various websites and organizations.

There are a couple of ‘do I need braces’ apps that are available on iTunes and the Google play store. While fun, we don't recommend using that information in place of what your dentist/orthodontist recommends.

You need to be very careful with these tests. Some of the tests have been created by individuals with no dental knowledge and are just looking to have some fun and money. Others have been created by companies in order to sell their products.

Be sure to follow the advice of your dentist/orthodontist if they recommend braces. If you feel your dentist/orthodontist is an error, you can seek out the opinion of another dentist/orthodontist in your area. Following the advice of quizzes and tests online is not a reliable or safe way to diagnose your dental health.

There are Different Types of Braces

There are many different types of braces and reasons to get them. We will answer a couple of questions here and some of the issues you may go through when getting braces.

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Do you need all your teeth to get braces?

No, you do not need all of your teeth to get braces. However, it is recommended that you have all of your adult teeth before you get braces. Your dentist/orthodontist will make sure you have as many teeth as you need to get your braces to work properly and correct any issue that is occurring. As we said above, very rarely do dentists/orthodontists recommend braces before all of your adult teeth have come in.

How long should you wear braces?

how long do braces last

Most braces are typically worn for 2 to 3 years. The time frame will vary depending on the type of issue you have and the methods of correction. There are some severe problems that may take 5 or more years to correct, especially if you are an adult.

Do I need to remove teeth to get braces?

In the vast majority of cases, you will not need to remove any teeth to get your braces. If a tooth is very damaged or will cause problems moving other teeth into proper alignment, your dentist/orthodontist may recommend the removal of a particular tooth. It is most common if one tooth is in the space of another. It is not a common occurrence.

Can braces be on only the top or bottom teeth?

In some cases, you may only get braces on your bottom teeth or on your top team. If your dentist/orthodontist thinks you need just to get top braces or bottom braces, they will talk to you about the reason and the circumstances.

Can you get braces for one tooth?

You can get braces for just one tooth; however, most dentists/orthodontists will use other techniques for a small change. Some dentists/orthodontists will even recommend waiting, as many teeth problems fix themselves as people age. Retainers are more often used for fixing smaller, less numerous problems.

What type of braces should I get?

braces types

You will need to talk to your dentist about what type of braces you should get; there are several different kinds, which we outline in the articles in this category.

If you have an overbite do you need braces? If you have an underbite do you need braces? Do I need braces for a crossbite?

All 3 of these questions have ‘Yes’ as the most common answer. Overbite, underbite, and crossbite are an issue with your jaw aligning properly. Braces are the fastest and easiest way to correct this problem that does not involve surgery. Even if you have just a small overbite, a dentist/orthodontist will recommend braces to correct this issue.

The question of using braces rather than jaw surgery will be left up to you and your dentist/orthodontist. Generally, you do not need braces before your jaw surgery. But many dentists/orthodontist will use it afterward. Even when your dentist/orthodontist recommends jaw surgery, it is only as the last resort or affects a severe problem.

You may need headgear braces for a deep overbite or underbite. Be sure to talk to your dentist/orthodontist about the different options you have.

Do I need braces for a gap?

Depending on the size and the location of the gap, you may or may not need braces. A small gap may be fixed by a retainer or band therapy, where a large gap may require braces. You will need to discuss the options with your dentist/orthodontist to see which would be best for you.

Do I need braces to get a retainer?

You do not need braces to get a retainer, although retainer is used nearly 100% of the time after braces. Technology has been able to produce retainers that work as braces and that can fix smaller problems. We recommend talking to your dentist/orthodontist about various retainer type braces, such Invisalign.

Do I need braces for TMJ?

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) pain can be resolved by using braces or several other therapies. In many cases, a retainer may aid the pain before braces are used. Massage therapy, acupuncture, specific exercises, and chiropractic therapy are also used to relieve TMJ pain.

If your dentist recommends braces for TMJ pain, be sure to ask about the alternatives. If you don't like your dentist answer, be sure to seek out a second opinion.

Do I need braces again? Or second time?

In the vast majority of cases, you will not need braces a second time. Dentists/orthodontists plan the treatment so that your braces are a onetime fix. However, if you have other issues or there are injuries to your face or mouth, you may require braces to reset your teeth. If your dentist/orthodonist recommends braces at after you already had a set, be sure to discuss why and seek out a second opinion if you are not satisfied with the answer.

Financial Issues with Braces

The biggest obstacle for most people is the cost of braces. In the US, prices can cost $3000 to $5000. It is a huge financial burden on many families. Even with some dental plans, the cost of getting braces can be exceptionally high.

One of the best things you could do if you need braces is to seek out a reputable dentist/orthodontist and discuss your options. Many dentists/orthodontists offer payment plans and discounts for people in financial trouble.

There are also a couple of discount plans that you can join and several insurance companies that have specific rates to help you get braces. We recommend checking out the articles that we just highlighted in order to explore as many options as possible so you get the braces when you need them.

If you liked our article, please share it and use the comment section below to tell us about your experiences or ask any questions. Thank You!

  • Colleen says:

    The message really ought to get out that the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that all children have a check-up with an orthodontic specialist no later than age 7. For a great video on this by – in my opinion – the world’s best orthodontist (very hard to have found)… visit Right To Grow . org and watch Dr. Derek Mahony explain. Please, please, please take your child to get accessed at a young age. I have only once been charged – and I knew in advance this policy. Consults with several orthodontist will serve to inform you in making the best decision.

    • Susan says:

      Hey Colleen!

      Thanks for the information. It’s slowly getting out there that children should visit an orthodontic specialist. However, in many areas, it’s difficult to get a child to visit a regular dentist at all. We’re working on helping people make the best decisions, and that includes getting children to an orthodontist.

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