When to Get Braces for a Young Actor

When to Get Braces for a Young Actor

Original article reprinted here with permission from backstage.com.

3 Reasons Your Acting Career May be Suffering


An eleven-year-old and her parents came to me seeking advice on getting representation. The adorable tween sang like an angel, had a read that blew me away, and was extremely marketable. As I finished talking to her parents, I let them know that there were many agents or managers who would sign their child in an instant. Then they laid it on me, “By the way, Sophie’s braces are coming on next week.”

Adolescence is indeed a tricky time for any child—let alone a child actor. Braces can definitely put things to a halt in our business, so paying attention to timing is important.

There may be no perfect time to begin orthodontic treatment, but here are a few helpful tips as you begin your investigation.

When is the best time to begin the process?
I spoke with orthodontist, Dr. Gerald E. Gardner, DDS, M.S. in Yorktown Heights, New York to get his advice on this one. “The best time to be evaluated for orthodontic treatment is between the ages of 9 and 11. One thing to remember is some children at the age of 9 can have a mouth of an 11-year-old, and some 11-year-olds can have a mouth of a 9-year-old. A trained orthodontist can evaluate the child in that time period to decide the best time to start treatment.” If your child is working or auditioning regularly at this age, you may want to consult with your orthodontist and see if holding off a few years is acceptable. That would bring your child to the awkward teen years when work tends to slow down anyway.

What about Invisalign?
Dr. Gardner concurs with me on this one. In the eyes of a certified orthodontist, Invisalign has limitations in its use and generally does not produce the same results as traditional braces. So, although you can remove them for auditions, they may not correct the teeth. After spending all of that money, your child may wind up needing metal braces after all.

Can’t I just have them removed for an audition or job?
Think about this one carefully before acting on it. According to Dr. Gardner, “Removal of braces for auditions can add an additional cost when braces have to be replaced. It can also extend the treatment time.” However, it may be worth it to you if it means getting a big role, so talk it over with your family and agent or manager.

What areas can my child work in with braces?
Occasionally, children with braces are needed for an on-camera television commercial. More often than not, however, braces will be a deterrent. Voiceover work on the other hand is not a problem for a child with braces unless the equipment in the mouth creates a speech problem. Many children will opt for clear braces and are able to work on stage since their mouth will not be seen from a distance. Depending on the time period and role type, there may also be some film and TV roles that will work for a child with braces.

Braces are a normal part of life for many children and teens, and they are just one of many things that you will need to consider as you and your child plan out his showbiz career. Plan wisely and don’t hesitate to discuss this with your agent or manager, but don’t let it discourage you either. Your child is growing up, and, with a little luck and hard work, will have many years ahead to land some fabulous roles and shine on stage—all with beautifully straight teeth.

What experiences have you had in this area? If you are the parent of a young actor who is destined to wear braces, what advice have you received? I’d love to hear from you. Just leave a comment below!

Master your craft, empower yourself, and enjoy the journey.

Backstage.com logo

Denise is a Contributing Expert to Backstage.com

By | 2017-01-03T19:35:48+00:00 June 14th, 2013|Acting, Articles|5 Comments

About the Author:


  1. Julie July 25, 2013 at 11:21 am - Reply

    We recently visited the orthodontist for my 10 year old son and 12 year old daughter. For my son, who is currently going on auditions, the ortho decided on a full time retainer. This will straighten his top teeth for now, but the retainer can be removed for auditions. We decided on the clear braces for my daughter, who is in that teen slow time.

    • Denise August 30, 2013 at 4:29 pm - Reply

      You seem to have gotten the best of what braces has to offer. A retainer is ideal if it works!! And yes, the teen years are slow so it is a great time for braces.


  2. kalene speranza August 28, 2013 at 5:05 pm - Reply

    Hi! My name is Kalene and I am about to be entering my senior year of high school. I have been acting for several years in both community and high school theatre. I have had my braces since 7th grade. It’s incredibly frustrating for me as I long to become a film actress. I feel my braces have definitely stinted the opportunities for me in this industry. About a month ago, I had been contacted by Craze Talent Agency. They seemed interested in promoting me and put me on their national database. The only problem is, they have not contacted me yet with any upcoming auditions. I am worried that it is because of my braces and I may not get any opportunities until they come off. Or should I find another talent agency to sign with?

  3. Denise August 30, 2013 at 4:27 pm - Reply

    Hi Kalene. The best thing to do is to have a conversation with your current rep to see if the braces are getting in the way of them sending you out. There could be many factors of why you are not getting sent out. Good communication is key to a successful relationship with you agent. Hope this helps.

  4. Johnny McCarron March 6, 2017 at 4:03 pm - Reply

    I agree that the best time to get braces is between the ages of 9-11. Some kids may have braces in the middle of high school. However, if you get them earlier, they might come off earlier. Do you have any tips about finding a good orthodontist to correct your teeth?

Leave A Comment