If you think your child may need braces, it’s important to know exactly when this momentous event should occur.
Before you take your child to the dentist, there are a few things every parent should know about braces for children.
Read on to learn more about when should kids get braces and what you need to know about the process, care of the braces, and more.
When Should Kids Get Braces?
Not every child will need braces, and those that do can have them at any stage of life. Some children get them when they are around six years old while others may not need them until their teenage years.
Your child’s dentist will examine their teeth and look for certain issues. Some reasons kids may need braces include crooked, overlapping, or overcrowded teeth. A bad bite called a malocclusion is another common reason.
Malocclusion is when there is a difference between the size of the top and bottom jaw. If the upper jaw is larger than the lower jaw, it’s called an underbite. If the lower jaw is larger, it’s an underbite.
The causes for these tooth and jaw issues can be caused by a range of things including losing baby teeth too soon or an accident. Children who suck their thumb may also have jaw or teeth problems.
Sometimes, tooth and jaw issues are genetic. Your dentist will probably be the first person to notice any issues with your child’s teeth or jaw. They may recommend that you see an orthodontist who can determine if braces are needed.
By the age of seven, your child should visit an orthodontist so they can start looking for any issues as soon as possible. Even if they spot a problem, it doesn’t mean that’s when should kids get braces.
They will thoroughly examine the teeth, mouth, and jaw and ask your child to bite their teeth together. They’ll also ask if there have been any issues with chewing or swallowing food.
Your child’s orthodontist will probably take X-rays of their mouth and teeth to get a better idea of how everything is positioned. They may make a mold of your child’s teeth to get a better picture of what type of treatment will be best.
The Different Braces for Children
The purpose of braces is to correct any alignment problems that happen when there’s constant pressure on the teeth. They are designed to move the teeth back into a straighter position.
The most common type of braces for kids use brackets, wires, and rubber bands. The brackets attach to the teeth and are connected with the wire and rubber bands.
Over time, the wire is tightened to align the teeth slowly. The rubber bands are a fun thing your kids can enjoy by picking out their favorite colors. Metal braces are slowly being replaced by clear or white ceramic braces that look less obvious.
Another form of clear, removable braces helps to move teeth using plastic trays. This brace is called an aligner and uses more wire than rubber bands.
Sometimes, your child may have to wear headgear but it’s usually only worn at night. This horseshoe-shaped wire attaches to the back teeth and uses a strong force to move the teeth.
Whatever type of braces your child needs, they will need to have a check-up every few weeks to monitor their progress. The orthodontist will make any necessary adjustments at the appointment.
Every child has a different timeframe for how long they need to wear braces. The average time is around two years. Eventually, the orthodontist may replace the braces with a retainer.
Taking Care of Your Child’s Braces
Even with dental insurance, braces can be expensive, so it’s important that your child knows how to properly care for them. Food can easily get stuck in the wire of the braces, so kids should be especially vigilant in brushing their teeth after every meal.
Regular brushing and flossing will eliminate any food that has been left behind and will keep the braces clean. Have your child scheduled for regular cleanings and check-ups with your dentist, too.
Make sure your child avoids certain foods like popcorn and sticky candy when they wear braces. Sugary drinks and snacks can make tooth decay worse, and it’s not as easy to spot when they are wearing braces.
For kids who wear plastic aligners, make sure they remove them whenever they eat. If they forget, have them rinse the aligners clean after eating.
Braces put pressure on the teeth, so they can feel uncomfortable every so often. This is usually worse after your child’s orthodontist makes any adjustments to the braces.
Mild pain can be relieved with over-the-counter medication. Eating soft foods can also help to ease the pain. If the pain doesn’t subside or worsen, call your dentist right away.
Your child may end up with a loose wire or bracket every once in a while. A wire could also poke them and cause pain or bleeding. See your orthodontist right away so they can make repairs to the braces.
Braces for Kids
The common question of when should kids get braces can be answered by your child’s dentist and orthodontist. They have the skills and the tools to make a clear assessment of your child’s dental health.
Go over all the different options for braces so you can be sure you select the right type for your child’s needs.
Contact us today for a free exam and visit our website to learn more about the newest style of braces available.