Do You Need Braces? Take the Self-Assessment Quiz to Find Out!

If you aren’t happy with your teeth (or have concerns about your kids’ teeth) you’re most likely unsure how to know if you need braces. You probably also have concerns about what getting braces means. Will it be painful? How will it look? How will it change my lifestyle? You might even expect your kids to be worried about getting bullied or made fun of because of their orthodontia.

An orthodontist examines a young boy’s smile during an orthodontic evaluation.

It might surprise you, then, to learn that many kids today actually look forward to getting braces. Wearing braces has become trendy, to the point where photo editing apps have features where users can digitally add braces to their smiles. And orthodontists worldwide report that many parents bring their children to the orthodontist because the kids actually want to wear braces—and, if it turns out they don’t need them, they are often upset by the news.

Although reasons for the shift in attitudes vary (and include changes in the appearance and process of getting braces), the eagerness of many kids (and adults!) to get orthodontic treatments, have many parents making appointments with an orthodontist to get answers.

Sometimes, it’s clear that corrective treatments are necessary, but that’s not always the case. Seeing an orthodontist at Newtown Dentistry for an evaluation can give you the answers you need, but taking our self-assessment quiz can also help you get on the right track.

When to See an Orthodontist to Know if You Need Braces

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that all children see an orthodontist for an evaluation around age seven. This doesn’t mean kids need braces that early. In fact, most don’t. But, by checking on teeth while your child has a mix of both baby and permanent adult teeth—and the jaw is still growing—the orthodontist can get a sense of whether any problems are developing and what’s required to correct them.

Most children who need braces get them around ages 9-16. Some children do need earlier interventions, such as a palatal expander or tooth extraction, to create room for permanent teeth and prevent misalignment or to correct issues affecting their speech or ability to chew. A child who needs a palatal expander, for example, must have that treatment while they are still growing, as it’s not effective on adults.

How to Know if You Need Braces: A Quiz

If your child is older than seven and hasn’t seen an orthodontist yet, don’t panic. Your dentist will likely remind you about getting a checkup when it’s time, or even make a referral for you if they believe braces may be necessary.

Adult patients who think they may need braces can talk to their dentist, or make an appointment with an orthodontist. If you aren’t sure, take this quiz, designed to give you answers on how to know if you need braces.

Do You or Your Child Need Braces? Ask the Following Questions:

A teen boy looks at a clear aligner to straighten his teeth that’s held by the orthodontist.

  • Are your teeth crowded or crooked?
  • Do any of your teeth overlap?
  • Do your upper or lower teeth stick out?
  • Did you lose baby teeth before age six?
  • Did you still have baby teeth after age 12?
  • Do you have trouble eating, such as jaw pain while chewing, or gum irritation where teeth don’t touch?
  • Do you have trouble caring for your teeth (i.e., reaching all of your teeth to floss, getting all of your teeth clean while brushing?)
  • Is there something you would like to change about your teeth?

If you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions about your or your child’s teeth, you should make an appointment to see an orthodontist. The only surefire way how to know if you need braces is to see an orthodontist.

Options for a Beautiful Smile

Depending on the position of your teeth and jaw—and how much your teeth and bite need to be corrected—your orthodontist has many options from which to choose.

Braces are the most common treatment and involve applying gentle force on the teeth over time using wires threaded through metal brackets affixed to the teeth. Archwires and rubber bands are used to apply more force to move the teeth.

Clear aligners are popular among adults and teens who only need minor orthodontic care for crooked teeth. The treatment uses a series of removable clear, thin, plastic trays to gently realign teeth.

In either case, the process of determining the best type of orthodontic treatment begins with a thorough exam, including X-rays. The orthodontist will also take an impression of the teeth to create an exact model to guide treatment. Newtown Dentistry uses technology for digital impressions for better accuracy—and a more pleasant experience. Check out this video to see more about the digital impression process.

Finally, there may be times when braces or aligners aren’t the best treatments. Adults with misaligned jaws, for example—where the upper and lower jawbones don’t meet as they should—require corrective surgery. Once the jawbones are done growing, they can only be modified surgically. That’s just one more reason children should see the orthodontist sooner rather than later.

Orthodontics at Newtown Dentistry

The team of orthodontists at Newtown Dentistry treats patients of all ages. If you are concerned or think that you or your child needs braces, call (215) 504-5437 today to make an appointment for a complimentary evaluation, or use our online scheduling request to get started toward a bright, beautiful smile.

  • AUTHOR

    Newtown Dentistry

  • DATE

    July 27, 2021

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