de_DEen_GBen_USes_ESfr_FR is reader-supported. When you buy via the links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.


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

Natalie Asmussen
Natalie Asmussen
calendar icon
updated icon

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

While you might be anxious to get 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.

Crowding in your teeth can cause harm to your oral health. It makes it harder to brush a certain tooth, which leads to decay and cavities over time. While braces can be uncomfortable to wear for months, you will be saving your teeth and improving your smile.

Plus, braces can improve speech, reduce difficulty eating, and help prevent you from biting your tongue. Here's what you should know about orthodontics.

Signs you may need braces

Many problems arise when you need braces. Your front teeth might not be close enough together or you could have a risk of tooth decay from tightly packed teeth. No matter the reason, you will want to know the signs you need braces.

how to know if you need braces
Find out how to know when you need 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 resting
  • 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 dentist about orthodontic treatment. They can take x-rays and see how your teeth look inside your mouth. Some offer a free consultation, so it would be worthwhile to use if you think you may need treatment.

Finally, if you are an adult, don't worry! There are plenty of options for treatment, including ones that other people won't be able to see. Orthodontics has come a long way, with invisible aligners now on the scene. Read more about how long you have to wear braces and what happens when it's time to remove braces.

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 may help realign the jaw for a more comfortable bite. If you feel like your bite doesn't line up properly, talk with your orthodontist.

Signs your child needs braces

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

The best way to determine if your child needs orthodontic treatment is to schedule an appointment for them. Orthodontists will be able to properly examine their teeth and let you know what you need to do to correct them. Your dentist can recommend an orthodontist that they trust.

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 never fell out, but an adult one is coming in
  • They suck their thumb or used a pacifier after the age of 2
  • There is overcrowding
  • They have poor oral hygiene or poor nutrition

Many experts recommend that you take your kids to see an orthodontist when they are young before the full development of their jaw. That way, they can determine if they need braces early on. Additionally, many insurance companies help cover the cost of braces for children, as long as they are medically necessary. Read more about the cost of braces a month.

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 likely only get worse. Straightening teeth does improve appearance, but it can also improve a child's quality of life. Because flossing and brushing your teeth with braces is so important, it helps kids get into better hygiene practices overall.

Orthodontics can correct the following common problems:

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

Set up a consultation with an orthodontist 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 have very successful orthodontic treatment 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 gradually through braces tightening.

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

How to Know if You Need Braces: Guide for Children and Adults
1.5 (30%) 2 vote[s]