How Do I Know If I Need Braces?

Have you ever wondered if you need braces? Deciding whether you need braces can be a big decision. Your teeth may be straight, but you know wearing braces isn’t just for aesthetics. Often, patients use braces because they have a common orthodontic problem that is negatively affecting their oral health. Check out the six signs you might need braces. If any indication applies to you, we encourage you to make an appointment for a free consultation with Team Orthodontics.

How Do I Know If I Need Braces?

There are certain signs to look for when determining whether a child needs braces. These symptoms include crooked or crowded teeth, large upper or lower bites, crossbite, and jaw asymmetry. Early or late loss of primary teeth also indicates the need for braces. Simple habits, such as thumb sucking and breathing through the mouth, are also early signs that a child may need braces or other orthodontic treatment.

Of course, for adults, a sign that braces are needed is significantly crooked or crowded teeth. Other symptoms may include difficulty flossing and brushing around crooked teeth. Behaviors like biting your tongue or cutting your tongue with your teeth are also signs that you need braces.

Six Signs You May Need Braces

Signs You May Need Braces


Crowding is the most common condition in orthodontic treatment. Crowding occurs when your mouth doesn’t have enough room for all your teeth. Wearing braces or orthodontic treatment at a young age can help reduce crowding, but even patients who wear braces at a young age can experience crowding as adults. Over time, the crowding can get worse and can lead to areas that are difficult to brush and floss. When you can’t keep your teeth clean, plaque builds up and can lead to cavities, gum disease, bad breath, and bone loss around your teeth. Luckily, you don’t have to worry about crowding as it can be secured with adult braces! Dr. D has handled thousands of crowded cases. He can repair any damage already done and help avoid any future problems.

Gapping & Spacing

Some celebrities and models fill the gaps in their teeth perfectly, but if you’re not digging yours, let us help you! Gaps and spacing are the opposite of crowding. Those with spaces between teeth may have a missing tooth or a large jaw.


Overbite occurs when the upper and lower incisors overlap excessively. Not only is this noticeable, but it comes with a number of health and oral problems. In the event of an injury, there is an increased risk or trauma to the front teeth and an increased likelihood of the front teeth breaking. Overbite can also lead to excessive tooth wear and gum recession.


As opposed to an upper occlusion, underbite occurs when all the upper front teeth are located behind the lower front teeth. Typically, this occurs when the patient’s jaw is not commensurate in size. If you have trouble chewing and biting, you may have a lower abdomen. The soles of the feet can also accelerate facial aging and an uneven facial appearance.


Do your upper teeth cross behind your lower teeth? If so, you may have a crossbite. This is an abnormal bite that cannot go untreated. Without proper care, a crossbite can lead to asymmetrical growth of the jaw, excessive tooth wear, and increased gingival recession in the affected tooth. A crossbite can be repaired, but if you wait too long, you may not be able to repair broken or worn teeth.

Open Bite

Another abnormal bite is an open bite. If you bite down and your teeth don’t touch, you may be bitten open. Often, an open bite can cause speech problems and bite difficulties.

Right Age for Braces

The optimal age to wear braces varies from person to person. In most cases, for children, it is best to use braces only when permanent teeth have worn away. This usually occurs between the ages of 9 and 14. Although in some cases, partial braces can be used to help the adult teeth grow into the best position when the baby’s teeth are still there.

On the other hand, wearing braces is never too old. This is because our facial structures change as we age, which can lead to increased crowding and even narrowing of teeth in adulthood.

How To Tell If Your Child Needs Braces?

It can be harder to tell if your child needs braces. If a child’s baby teeth are crooked or crowded, this may indicate that they will need braces in the future.

Other signs include:

  • mouth breathing
  • a jaw that makes clicking or other noises
  • prone to accidental bites on the tongue, the roof of the mouth, or the inside of the cheeks
  • Sucking a thumb or using a pacifier over the age of two
  • Early or late loss of primary teeth
  • Teeth don’t bite together even when the mouth is fully closed
  • crooked or crowded teeth

Malnutrition in infancy, poor oral hygiene, and genetics are all reasons why children (and adults) may eventually need braces.

When To See a Dentist

The American Academy of OrthomaticsTrusted Source recommends that all children make an appointment with an orthodontist no later than age 7. The logic behind this recommendation is that when it is determined that braces are needed, early treatment can improve outcomes.

Even children whose teeth are not significantly crowded or tilted can benefit from an orthodontist’s examination.

The optimal age to wear braces varies from person to person. In most cases, treatment with braces begins between the ages of 9 and 14, when children begin to have permanent teeth.

But for some, treatment with braces as a child is not possible. Whether because of cost, inconvenience, or lack of diagnosis, many people have to postpone orthodontic treatment until adulthood.

Technically speaking, it’s never too old to wear braces. However, this does not mean that you should continue to delay treatment.

You can make an appointment whenever you are ready to receive treatment for crowded or crooked teeth. You don’t usually need a dentist’s recommendation to make an orthodontist appointment.

Remember that your jaw will continue to grow as you age, which can lead to crowded or narrowed teeth. If you wait to treat an oversized or crooked tooth, the problem will not improve or resolve itself.

The sooner you talk to a professional about getting braces, the better.

Alternatives to Braces

Metal brackets, ceramic brackets, and invisible brackets are the most common types of orthodontic treatment.

The only real alternative to orthodontic braces is orthodontic surgery.

This surgery can be a small procedure to change the way your teeth line up in your mouth. It can also be a more serious procedure, with surgery to adjust your jaw to better accommodate speaking and chewing.


Crooked and crowded teeth are traditional signs that you or your child may need braces.

But crooked teeth or overbite aren’t the only signs that braces are needed. It’s also a myth that you need to wait until a child has all the adult teeth to determine if a child needs braces.

Braces are an expensive investment.

There is a difference between needing braces for cosmetic reasons and needing braces for continued oral health. If you have any of the above symptoms, talk to your dentist about the need for braces.