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How to Know if You Need Braces: Guide for Children and Adults

Amanda Dexter
Amanda Dexter
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Are you trying to figure out how to know if you need braces? Well, you're in the right place. We've gathered all the expert advice into one succinct guide, so you can easily tell if you need dental braces.

While you might be anxious about getting braces, they are essential for correcting the position of your teeth. The process can benefit your speech and ability to chew. Overall, you will want to know sooner rather than later if you need braces.

Keep reading while we answer the following questions, so you can make an informed decision on whether or not you need braces.

  • Do I need braces?
  • Can you get braces even if your teeth are straight?
  • How do I know if my child needs braces?
  • What age is best for getting braces?

Braces can improve speech, reduce difficulty eating, and help prevent you from biting your tongue. So it's a good idea to know if you need them, and when you should begin treatment.

Let's not delay your teeth straightening journey any longer, and jump right in with signs you (or your child) may need braces!

Signs you may need braces

Many oral health problems can arise when you need braces. And while braces can be uncomfortable to wear for a long time, you will be saving your teeth and improving your smile.

Crowding of your teeth can be detrimental to your oral health. It makes it harder to brush certain areas of your teeth, which can lead to decay and cavities over time.

It could be that you have a gap between your front teeth, your bite is severely misaligned, or that you struggle to say certain words. Whatever the reason, it's important to recognise the signs you need braces.

how to know if you need braces
How do you know if your kid needs braces?

An adult may need braces if they have the following symptoms:

  • Overcrowded or crooked teeth
  • Trouble flossing between their teeth
  • Teeth that don't overlap properly when your mouth is closed
  • Trouble pronouncing certain sounds
  • Clicking jaws
  • Your jaw feels tired after you eat
  • You often bite your tongue or it rubs on your teeth
  • Narrow roof of your mouth

You will want to talk with your NHS or private dentist about orthodontic treatment. They can take x-rays and see how your teeth look inside your mouth.

An NHS dentist will be able to assess if you are eligible for braces on the NHS, and if you are not they may recommend a good private dentist or orthodontist.

Finally, if you are an adult, don't worry! There are plenty of options for treatment and different types of braces, including ones that other people won't be able to see. Orthodontics has come a long way from the traditional train tracks, with invisible aligners now on the scene.

The following video from the British Orthodontic Society (BOS) explains the process between a dentist and a patient deciding whether braces are the right course of treatment.

Can you get braces even if your teeth are straight?

Even if your teeth appear to be straight, you still may have problems with jaw alignment that should be addressed. Braces such as twin block braces or other orthodontic appliances may help realign the jaw for a more comfortable bite.

If you feel like your bite doesn't line up properly, make an appointment with your orthodontist to get it checked.

How do I know if my child needs braces?

The best way to determine if your child needs orthodontic treatment is to schedule an appointment for them. Dentists will be able to properly examine their teeth and let you know what you need to do to correct them.

These are some signs your child might need braces:

  • They breathe through their mouth
  • Their jaws click or make noises
  • They bite their tongue or cheek often
  • They have crooked teeth or an overbite
  • A baby tooth that never fell out and is obstructing an adult tooth trying to grow in
  • They suck their thumb or used a dummy after the age of 2
  • There is overcrowding
  • They have poor oral hygiene or poor nutrition

Many experts recommend that you take your children to see a dentist or orthodontist when they are young before their jaws are fully developed. That way, they can determine if they need braces in the early stages. Additionally, the NHS may cover the cost of braces for children, as long as they are medically necessary.

does my child need braces?
If your child has issues eating or drinking they may have misaligned teeth

If your child has issues speaking, chewing, or drinking, they likely have misaligned teeth. The sooner you can correct the problems the better because they will most likely worsen over time. Straightening teeth does improve appearance, but it can also improve a child's oral health and quality of life.

Orthodontics can correct the following common problems:

  • Bad teeth spacing or gaps between teeth
  • Front teeth that stick out
  • Teeth that overlap
  • An underbite or overbite
  • Incorrect jaw alignment

Set up an appointment with a dentist near you to talk about your child's teeth. The sooner you can address the problem, the better.

What age is best for getting braces?

Young children tend to get better results because their teeth are easier to align. The typical age for children to get braces is between 8 and 14 years old after all of their baby teeth are gone. Even so, adults can successfully straighten their teeth as well.


In some cases, it may be obvious that you need braces, for instance, if you have severely crooked or crowded teeth. However, there are other times when the need for orthodontic treatment may not be so obvious.

If you have concerns, talk with your orthodontist. Adults getting orthodontic treatment for cosmetic reasons is very common today, so don't hesitate to talk with them. They may be able to improve your jaw and help align your teeth. And if you're worried about having a mouth full of metal braces, don't be; there are plenty of less visible options these days.

Overall, orthodontic treatment is great for your smile and oral health — so you don't want to miss out if you need it.

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BOS. Why Orthodontics? Consulted 15th September 2021.