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The Right Age for Braces

The Right Age for Braces

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child see an orthodontist for an initial examination by the age of 7 to advise whether orthodontic treatment is required and to determine the best time for the patient to be treated. The timing of orthodontic treatment is extremely important and greatly affects the treatment result. Since no two patients are alike, there is no specific age that is best to begin treatment. Our initial examination allows us to evaluate and monitor, and in many cases avoid potential problems or complications. For most children, Dr. Cranford does not believe that interceptive (early) treatment is necessary; however, there are limited cases that necessitate care at this early age. Interceptive orthodontic care is done only in select patients with select types of problems such as crossbite, underbite, severe overjet (protrusion of the top teeth), severe crowding, or harmful oral habits (such as thumb sucking).

If we find mild to moderate problems at the exam that we do not feel require early treatment, we will recommend seeing the patient periodically to monitor his/her growth and development. We will try to delay treatment until the permanent dentition has erupted and full treatment can be started to resolve the problems.


We prefer not to extract permanent teeth, and we utilize various techniques in order to treat most cases without extractions. In those select cases where extractions may be required, they may be utilized to not only create space for all the other permanent teeth, but also to improve facial balance and symmetry, thereby providing a beautiful smile and profile.


The majority of orthodontic patients are seen during adolescence. This is often the ideal time to straighten teeth and correct the bite since all or nearly all of the teeth have erupted. A healthy smile is a confident smile, and we believe every patient deserves the opportunity to smile with confidence. Orthodontic treatment can provide your teenagers with the opportunity to do just that, and to feel good about themselves as a result. Advances in technology have helped to minimize treatment time and the number of office visits, so there has never been a better time to consider your orthodontic treatment options.


Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age, and adults especially appreciate the benefits of a beautiful smile. One out of every four patients in orthodontic treatment is over 21. Aesthetic orthodontic appliances such as Invisalign clear aligners, ceramic braces or even braces that are attached to the backs of the teeth are all available options. Adults often experience some minimal crowding, especially in the front lower teeth. This condition may be corrected with removable appliances or with traditional braces discretely and quickly. Adults may have additional treatment needs or concerns depending on the status of their teeth and gums. Dr. Cranford will work with your general dentist and other dental specialists to make sure you receive the best oral care possible.

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