You love your child, but their teeth don’t quite match that cute face anymore. Maybe you’re worried they’ll be made fun of at school or have a difficult time getting a face forward job with that “interesting” smile, especially if it gets worse over time: that’s when it is time for children’s braces.
Gone are the days of the gold banding and catgut wiring used by the Egyptians. Orthodontics has improved exponentially, but the reasons for wanting straight teeth are generally the same, improving speech and much more.
Think your child needs orthodontic work but not sure where to start? Here are ten questions to ask before getting children’s braces.
1. What Is the Recommended Age for Children’s Braces?
How old do you need to be to get braces? Try to take your child in their first orthodontic evaluation by the age of 7. But it really depends on the severity of their misalignment, or bring them in earlier if you’re concerned.
Between ages 8 and 14 is the best time for them to begin treatment with braces. This is because most of their baby teeth have been replaced with adult teeth by this time.
Preventive or interceptive care works best during this time because it will help guide the teeth while your child is developing.
2. How Will Braces Help My Child?
Braces are recommended for many reasons. Aesthetics is one of the most common. When your child has straight teeth, their confidence is boosted and self-esteem levels rise.
Straight teeth are strongly associated with more professional success and more. Studies have shown that individuals with straighter teeth exude intelligence and trustworthiness. They’re happier, more popular, and healthier people in general.
Besides giving your child the best smile now and into the future, braces can make it easier to keep those teeth and gums healthy. When teeth are straight, brushing and flossing become more effective.
Another reason is to improve digestion. If teeth aren’t aligned, it’s difficult to chew food into small enough pieces. This can lead to digestive discomfort.
We also see crossbites, underbites, and overbites. These conditions can cause jaw strain, broken teeth, or tooth loss due to the wear on jaw muscles and gums.
3. Are There Different Types of Children’s Braces?
Yes, there are many different types of braces. Work with your orthodontist to find out which one is best fits your child’s needs.
You probably remember the big metal types from back in the old days. Since then, advances in technology have produced smaller metal brackets. This is the least expensive (and sometimes most effective) type.
You can choose clear brackets, which are less noticeable. They’re similar to metal ones in their effectiveness.
Another choice is Invisalign, which is a treatment that doesn’t use wires or even brackets. Invisalign is more comfortable than metal braces. They need to be worn at least 22 hours a day to work correctly.
4. What Do Children’s Braces Cost?
The cost of children’s braces will depend on a lot of different things, such as age, amount of work, and length of treatment. During your consultation, your family orthodontist will give you an estimate to eliminate any surprises.
Braces can usually be paid for using a convenient payment plan.
5. Is It Painful?
During the first week or so, there will be a little bit of soreness and discomfort. After that, there is almost no discomfort at all. Your child should try eating only soft foods during that first week until they get the hang of cleaning them.
Sometimes gums and inner mouth areas can become sore, but wax is put over the metal wires and braces to avoid this.
6. What to Expect With Children’s Braces
Before your child gets braces, help them maintain good dental habits as you probably do already. This way they can look forward to having a beautiful smile when the treatment is done.
Research some common toothbrushing mistakes and how to keep their pearly whites clean while wearing braces.
Your child might have some complaints at first, but they’ll get used to them — so much so that once they have them removed, kids rediscover how smooth teeth really are!
7. Foods and Activities to Avoid
These include caramel, hard or sticky candies, and ice. These can pop off brackets and bend wires.
Avoid popcorn because the hulls can get stuck between teeth and under braces. This could result in swelling or gum inflammation.
Contact sports like football or rugby can lead to injuries of the mouth, gum, or lip while wearing braces. If your child must play contact sports, as the orthodontist about mouthguards.
8. How Long Must They Wear the Braces?
Every patient has unique orthodontic problems and unique goals, so the length of treatment will vary.
Treatment could last as little as a year if it’s an easy fix. But with more complex situations, such as corrections in bite, you might be looking at 24-30 months.
9. How Do We Take Care of Children’s Braces at Home?
Brush teeth carefully to clean around the brackets. Flossing is a little awkward at first because they’ll have to floss under the wires, but your orthodontist will give your child floss threaders to make it easier.
Your child may be asked to use certain rubberbands on their brackets. Remember those multi-colored elastic bands from your childhood? Learn how to put them on correctly or they’ll fling them all over the room.
10. How Often Will We Visit the Orthodontist?
Bring your child in for adjustments and to stay updated on their treatment progress. How often you go in will depend on their specific treatment plan. Plan on visiting every 4 to 8 weeks or so.
You’re Child Will Thank You Later for Braces Today
To give your child a lifetime of beauty, confidence, great first impressions, and digestive health are priceless. They may complain a little at first, but remember that they’ll definitely thank you later for the braces you gave them today.
If you enjoyed this article about children’s braces, check out more in our Lifestyle section!