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Many parents have the same questions about pursuing orthodontic treatment. What is the best age to see the orthodontist? And is there a right age for getting braces?

Parents often assume this can only be done once all the teeth are in but certain bites and issues should be treated at younger ages before all permanent teeth have erupted.  Some of these issues include:  

  • Overbite (Excess Overjet)
  • Crossbites
  • Underbite
  • Uneven Bite
  • Overcrowding
  • Protruding Teeth

Your child should have an initial orthodontic consultation at the age of 7 so that your orthodontist can address any orthodontic concerns and check for these issues.  If your child does not have any issues that require early treatment your child probably won’t need braces until the age of 10 to 12.

It is a common misconception to think that all dental offices are alike. That’s why people pick a dental office simply based on its proximity to their workplace or home. Or they may pick one charging the lowest rates. At The Brace Place, we like to think our office is singularly unique and here’s why:
  1. The head of our team is Dr. Lateefah Washington, who grew up in NYC. After completing her BA in Cornell University, she went on to the New Jersey Dental School where she graduated in the Top 10 of her class and was inducted into the OKU Dental Honor Society.
  2. Dr. Washington then completed her MS and certificate in Orthodontics at the University of Minnesota, where she graduated in the top 5 of her class. She’s a member of the American Association of Orthodontists, Southwestern Association of Orthodontist, and the Texas Dental Association. She has been recognized as a Top Orthodontist by the Consumers’ Research Council of America and has been featured in Voyage Dallas magazine.
  3. Dr. Washington has worked as an orthodontist for 10 years, making her a highly qualified and experienced orthodontist. She has treated more than a thousand orthodontic patients!
  4. Our office is open before school and after work.  
  5. Our staff has over 30 years of combined orthodontic experience. 
  6. We are not a chain.  Thus we do not have a high turnover of doctors or staff members.  Our doctor is only at one location thus you do not need to travel miles out of your way if you had an emergency to see your doctor. 
  7. Our office provides orthodontic services for all ages. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, children should have their initial orthodontic evaluation before they turn 7 years old.
  8. Our innovative techniques and state-of-the-art dental equipment ensure reduced patient discomfort, minimal anxiety and shorter treatment times. We make every effort to provide convenient appointment times that fit your busy schedule.
  9. We offer invisible braces and behind the teeth braces to help patients feel less self-conscious about wearing braces. We also offer accelerated orthodontics that can reduce treatment time to under 6 months.
  10. We also offer mouth guards for sports and mouth guards that keep you from grinding your teeth while you sleep.
  11. Our goal is to make your visit an anxiety-free experience. We have Zen-like murals on the walls and comfy chairs with armrests in our lobby. Ahh…relax and enjoy!
  12. On arrival, you’ll meet Chelsea at the front desk. Chelsea is our financial and treatment coordinator and always enjoys helping with any concerns and questions you may have. 
  13. Finally, we have a well-furnished sterilization area to make sure that all the tools we use are sterile and clean.
At Brace Place, we like to think of ourselves as more than just another dental clinic and look forward to sharing the experience with you!
The short answer to this question is NO, it’s not too late. Of course, this answer may not be enough to overcome any anxiety and hesitation you may have. But there are several positive reasons that explain why it makes sense to get braces when you’re an adult:
    1. You’re not the only adult who’ll be wearing braces. Braces have become quite common, and in some circles, it’s actually a rather trendy practice. Nowadays about a million adults in the US and Canada are sporting braces.
    2. Celebrities are using them too.  Tom Cruise had ceramic braces at the age of 40. Country superstar Faith Hill wore them when she sashayed on the red carpet at the 2013 Grammys, and she looked gorgeous even though she had braces at 45 years of age!
    3. Braces are not all that conspicuous. We’ve all seen the movies with awkward kids wearing braces, but that won’t happen to you. That’s because the latest technology uses less conspicuous bands and brackets that are minuscule. In addition, you can select “invisible” braces that are virtually unnoticeable.
    4. They’re affordable. As an adult, you’re likely to have dental insurance that can cover the cost. Even without insurance, many dentists offer flexible payment plans that can help fit your budget.
    5. Braces keep your teeth straight. Adults may have crooked teeth due to health issues, sports injuries, or even just natural growth. Braces will move the teeth back to their proper position.
    6. It improves the way you chew. If you’re having trouble biting into or chewing food, braces can solve the problem by fixing your bite. This will enhance your dining experience and boost your interest in food.
    7. It improves the quality of your smile. Having a better smile seems like a small thing but has a large effect on your whole life. A better smile can make you look friendlier and more approachable which enhances your social life to a considerable degree. You’ll find that parties are somehow more fun as you meet new people, and first dates tend to become more pleasurable.
A confident and beautiful smile is also indispensable in the workplace. It makes a terrific first impression during job interviews and meeting new clients and customers. You’ll interact better with your coworkers. When you have a great smile, it’s natural for other people to like you—and to appreciate your work, services, and products.
  1. 8. It boosts your self-confidence. When you know you look better and you feel better because your teeth are straighter, you can’t help but feel more confident about yourself.
So if you have crooked teeth, don’t hesitate to discuss with us. You’re not the first adult who asked their dentist about braces, and you certainly won’t be the last. It’s simply never too late to have straight teeth and a beautiful smile.
There are times when conventional orthodontic solutions cannot successfully treat a bite problem. Severe malocclusion may require surgical treatment particularly if it is causing functional problems such as speech difficulties, inability to properly chew food and facial dysfunction in the form of joint pain, headaches or gum problems. Self-esteem issues brought about by jaw abnormalities may also necessitate the need for surgery. Also known as orthognathic surgery, surgical orthodontics is used to treat severe cases of jawbone abnormalities and bad bites. If your orthodontist has determined that you need surgery, he or she will work with an oral & maxillofacial surgeon to ensure you receive the best care possible.   Do I Need Surgery?   Adults suffering from severely bad bites or have concerns about their facial appearance may consider surgical orthodontics. But to know for certain whether it is necessary, your orthodontist will evaluate your mouth structures including your jaws, teeth, and gums before making a diagnosis. Typically, jaw growth stops between the age of 16 and 18. When the jaws do not line up properly and cause functional and aesthetic problems for the patient, orthognathic surgery may be needed to move the jaw and teeth into their correct position. An orthodontist will wait until the jaw has stopped growing before determining whether surgery is the appropriate treatment.   How It Works   Orthodontic surgery can only be performed by a licensed oral & maxillofacial surgeon and the surgery often takes place in a hospital setting. The surgery can take several hours and once complete, you will be required to rest for at least two weeks. Since this is a major procedure, you will be advised not to work or go to school during this period. The healing phase takes several weeks. Once the jaw has healed, your bite will be “fine-tuned” by the orthodontist. You may be prescribed braces or clear aligners, which you’ll need to wear for 6-12 months. Then you’ll wear retainers to maintain the proper position of your teeth will be maintained.   Benefits of Orthognathic Surgery   For many of our patients, the best reward of having orthodontic surgery is a healthy and beautiful smile. Orthognathic surgery can correct malocclusions and jaw abnormalities enabling you to chew your food properly, speak more clearly and smile more confidently. It is also considered a treatment option for those suffering from obstructive sleep apnea.   Is Orthodontic Surgery Risky?   As with all major surgical procedures, there are risks associated with orthognathic surgery. If you have any concerns, please feel free to ask your oral surgeon. Surgical Orthodontics is a collaborative effort between your dentist, orthodontist and oral & maxillofacial surgeon. We will work together to create a treatment plan that will move your teeth to their ideal position by means of surgery. To find out if you’re a suitable candidate for orthognathic surgery, please schedule a consultation appointment with Dr. Washington. We will discuss your concerns and objectives, and perform a thorough examination of your mouth to determine if surgery is right for you.
As an established orthodontics practice in Grand Prairie, TX, we often get asked about what causes a bad bite. Also known as malocclusion, a bad bite happens when your upper and lower teeth don’t fit together correctly. It is a misalignment problem that can lead to serious complications to your oral health and well-being. Ideally, your teeth should fit together without any spaces or crowding issues. The teeth in your upper jaw should ever so slightly overlap with your lower teeth so the molars’ pointed ridges fit into the groves of the molars opposite to them. Any deviation is considered a malocclusion and may include: crowded teeth, overbite, crossbite, open bite or underbite. Here are some of the signs and symptoms that you or a loved one may have a malocclusion:
  • Teeth are improperly aligned
  • Constant biting of the tongue and/or inner cheeks
  • Difficulty or discomfort biting or chewing
  • Speech problems
  • Mouth breathing
  • Changes in the appearance or shape of the face
When the teeth are misaligned, they are unable to perform crucial functions. Proper alignment of the upper teeth is necessary to prevent biting of the lips and cheeks, while proper alignment of the lower teeth prevents you from biting your tongue. Causes of a Bad Bite In many cases, a person may have a bad bite because it runs in their family. However, there are some habits or conditions that can alter the structure and shape of the jaw, thus affecting the teeth. Some of the most common ones include:
  • Chronic thumb-sucking in early childhood
  • Injuries that affect the jaw
  • Impacted teeth
  • Abnormally shaped teeth
  • Mouth or jaw tumors
  • Prolonged bottle-feeding
  • Prolonged use of pacifier
  • Poor oral care
  • Cleft lip and palate
  • Enlarged tonsils or adenoids
  • Mouth breathing
How is a Bad Bite Diagnosed? A bad bite is typically diagnosed during routine dental checkups/exams. The first dental visit usually involves examining the shape and condition of the teeth and jaws and performing x-rays to evaluate if the teeth are aligned correctly. Should your dentist detect a malocclusion, they will classify the issue based on its severity and type:
  • Class 1 – The upper teeth slightly overlap with the lower teeth.
  • Class 2 – There is a severe overbite, with the upper teeth and jaw greatly overlapping with the lower teeth and jaw.
  • Class 3 – There is a severe underbite with the lower jaw protruding forward, overlapping with the upper teeth and jaw.
Treating a Bad Bite Dr. Washington has treated many patients with a bad bite. Treatment may include braces to correct the position of the teeth, as well as removal of some teeth if there is overcrowding. We usually recommend the use of Clear aligners (products like Invisalign) especially for patients who want a comfortable and inconspicuous alternative to clunky braces. We also offer accelerated orthodontic solutions for patients who want to fix their smile in the shortest time possible. For more information, please call our office and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

My patients usually ask this question during the initial consultation. Adults are especially concerned about the amount of time they need to wear braces.

On average, it takes about 24 months to complete an orthodontic treatment. Some patients require less than 12 months, but there are also patients requiring up to 3 years of treatment before their teeth reach the desired position.

Orthodontics is not a one-size-fits-all solution and each patient’s mouth is unique. So, while I cannot tell you with certainty the exact duration of treatment for your specific case, I can explain to you the factors that influence the amount of time you’ll need to wear dental braces.

  1. Type of Treatment

Patients requiring orthodontic treatment now have several options. There’s conventional metal braces, ceramic braces, and clear braces. Metal braces are made from stainless steel, making this system very strong and robust. Ceramic braces and clear aligners, on the other hand, look nicer than metal braces

  1. Age

Young patients (teens and children) tend to get results faster than adults because their jaws are still growing, making the teeth easier to manipulate. This doesn’t mean all adults need to wear braces for two years or more. There are other factors that affect the length of treatment.

  1. Severity of the Case

Another crucial factor is the severity of your orthodontic issue. Mild spacing/crowding can be fixed in a year or less, while severe cases could take much longer.

  1. Patient Compliance

An orthodontic patient needs to follow all instructions provided by his or her orthodontist to ensure a successful treatment. That includes maintaining proper oral hygiene, keeping your dental appointments and use your orthodontic appliance as directed.

  Is It Possible to Reduce the Amount of Time Needed to Wear Braces?  

Yes. Here at The Brace Place, we are happy to offer Propel technology to our patients. Propel helps teeth move faster into their desired position resulting in significantly reduced treatment times. Whether patients choose traditional braces or clear aligners like Invisalign, this innovative technology ensures that the treatment is effective and fast.


Other treatments that reduce treatment time include Acceledent and Vpro AcceleDent and Vpro utilize cyclic force and soft pulse technology to move the teeth.

Final Thoughts  

The only way to determine how long you’ll need orthodontic treatment is to consult an orthodontist. We will take pictures and X-rays of your mouth and create a custom treatment plan for you. We will also discuss accelerated options so you can have the smile you’ve always wanted in the shortest time possible.

As a practicing orthodontist for the last 10 years, I often get asked about clear aligners.
  • Can it really straighten the teeth?
  • How much does it cost?
  • What are my options?
If you’re asking the same questions, then I’m sure you’ll find this post helpful. Today, the most sought after clear aligners are Invisalign® and ClearCorrect®. Unlike traditional dental braces which are made up of wires, brackets and elastic bands, clear aligners straighten the teeth by means of clear (invisible) tooth aligners made of a special plastic material. If you need orthodontic treatment but do not want wires and brackets in your mouth, this may be a good alternative. But which clear aligner system is right for you – Invisalign or ClearCorrect?   What is Invisalign? Invisalign is the most popular choice for people who prefer clear braces and it has treated over 3 million patients since it was introduced in 1998. It’s made of a set of transparent shells that fit tightly over your teeth. These aligners are removable and created using 3D imaging technology, to ensure that the system accurately addresses your needs. The aligners need to be replaced every 2 weeks to gradually move your teeth toward their ideal position. It’s an excellent option for patients who want to straighten their teeth without the obtrusiveness of conventional braces. Invisalign can be used to correct various issues like crossbite, overbite, and underbite. So if you have overlapping or protruding teeth, or a misalignment of the lower and top jaws, you may benefit from Invisalign treatment. The duration of treatment depends on the circumstances of each patient. I will provide an estimate during your initial appointment.   What is ClearCorrect?
  • ClearCorrect is a newer clear brace system first introduced in the United States in 2006.
  • ClearCorrect aligners are made from a plastic called Zendura, a very durable material designed to remain resistant even when put under a lot of stress/pressure.
You’ll receive new aligners every 2 weeks and need to wear them for at least 22 hours a day.   Which One is Right For Me? As with many dental treatments, some patients may not be suitable candidates for Invisalign nor ClearCorrect. I would advise you to first speak with your orthodontist about this matter. Your orthodontist will evaluate your teeth and recommend the best orthodontic treatment for you.