Braces are a common rite of passage among children and teenagers today. They not only help in correcting dental issues, but they also contribute to improved oral health and a beautiful smile. Understanding the basics of orthodontic treatment for kids can help alleviate any concerns you may have and make the process smoother for both you and your child.
Whether your child has crooked teeth, overcrowding, or a misaligned bite, braces can effectively address these issues. By understanding the ins and outs of kids’ braces, you can make informed decisions and ensure that your child receives the best possible orthodontic care.
When Should a Child Visit the Orthodontist?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children should first visit an orthodontist around the age of seven. This may sound early, but these early visits help to identify any potential problems with jaw growth and alignment issues with emerging teeth. Even if orthodontic treatment isn’t immediately necessary, these early assessments allow for a proactive approach to your child’s dental health.
How to Know if Your Child Needs Braces
Children may need braces for several reasons, including crooked teeth, overlapping or crowded teeth, or a “bad bite” known as malocclusion. Malocclusion happens when there’s a difference in the sizes of the top and bottom jaws. If your child has difficulty biting or chewing, or they have lost their baby teeth too early or too late, these might also be signs that braces could be in their future.
What is the Right Age for Braces?
While there’s no universally “right” age for a child to get braces, the typical age range of braces treatment for children is usually between 8 and 14 years old. By this age, most children have lost all of their baby teeth, and the majority of their permanent teeth have grown in. However, the actual timing depends on the child’s individual growth and the complexity of their orthodontic issues.
Types of Braces for Children
There are several types of braces to consider for your child, including traditional metal braces, ceramic braces, and clear aligners, (also called invisible braces). Each type comes with its own set of advantages and potential drawbacks. When choosing the right kind of braces for your child, it’s essential to consider their unique needs, lifestyle, and your family’s budget.
Traditional Metal Braces
Traditional braces are the most common treatment options used in orthodontics for kids. They’re highly effective for complex dental issues, making them a versatile option for a wide range of cases. Over the years, traditional braces have seen numerous design improvements, making them more comfortable and less noticeable than they were in the past.
They consist of small metal brackets attached to each tooth, connected by a thin wire. The wire is periodically adjusted to move the teeth gradually into the correct positions. Plus, kids often enjoy choosing from a variety of colored rubber bands for their braces, adding a fun and personal touch to the treatment.
Ceramic braces offer a more discreet alternative to metal braces. They work in the same way as metal braces but feature brackets made of clear or tooth-colored ceramic to blend with the natural color of your child’s teeth. This makes them a popular choice among kids who might be self-conscious about the aesthetics of wearing braces.
While they are less noticeable, ceramic braces do require a bit more care. They can stain if not properly maintained, so good oral hygiene is key. Regular brushing and flossing, avoiding certain staining foods and drinks, and regular orthodontist visits for cleanings and adjustments will help keep these braces looking their best.
Invisible Braces (Invisalign)
Invisible braces, often known by the brand name Invisalign, are a popular choice for older kids and teens. This system uses a series of custom-made, clear plastic aligners that fit over the teeth. These removable braces are virtually undetectable and can be removed for eating, brushing, and flossing, making them a highly convenient option.
However, with this convenience comes a higher degree of responsibility. It’s crucial that the child wears their aligners for at least 20-22 hours a day, removing them only for meals and oral care. Plus, because they are removable, there’s a risk of misplacement, so it’s important to create good habits around storing them safely when not in use.
Cost of Braces for Kids
One of the crucial factors that parents need to consider when exploring orthodontic treatment for their children is the cost. Orthodontic treatment is a significant investment in your child’s oral health, and understanding the costs associated with different types of braces can help you plan accordingly.
The cost of braces varies significantly based on several factors, including:
- The type of braces: Traditional braces tend to be the least expensive option, while invisible aligners are often the most costly due to the technology and convenience they offer.
- The complexity of the case: More complex dental issues that require a longer treatment plan generally result in higher overall costs.
- Insurance coverage: Depending on your dental insurance plan, a portion of the orthodontic treatment may be covered. It’s crucial to check with your insurance provider to understand what is included in your plan.
Despite the costs, remember that braces are a long-term investment in your child’s dental health and overall well-being. While it may seem like a considerable expense now, braces can prevent more severe (and potentially costly) dental issues down the line.
If paying for braces is a concern, talk with our dental team about payment plans or financing options that can help spread out the cost of treatment.
Contact Us For More Information About Braces for Kids
Choosing braces is an important decision that will significantly impact your child’s dental health for years to come. Remember, you don’t have to figure it out alone.
At Discovery Dental Shelby, our team is here to guide you through every step of your child’s orthodontic journey, from that first consultation to the day the braces come off and your child’s bright, healthy smile is revealed. Don’t wait to start this essential part of your child’s health and well-being. Schedule your child’s orthodontic appointment today!