Braces for Kids: Guide for Parents

Do you notice your child getting conscious of how their smile looks? Or maybe it’s you who is getting concerned for them. Then it’s time to schedule an appointment with your nearby orthodontist and find out what can be done.

Getting orthodontic treatment or braces can be intimidating for both kids and parents. Numerous worries and questions can arise in one’s mind. How will the braces look? Will they hurt? Will they affect speech and eating habits? How long will they have to be worn? And how much will they cost?

If you have similar queries in mind, our guide will help cool you down. 

Why Your Child Should Get Braces?

One might think that having straight teeth is not that big a deal. But there are a lot more braces can correct than crooked teeth.

  • Perfect alignment is necessary for healthy teeth. Crowded or crooked teeth leave tight spots between them, which are hard to reach with a brush and remain uncleaned. With time the plaque build-up may result in cavities and consequently loss of some or the whole tooth.
     

  • Many gum diseases also correlate with misaligned teeth. The reason is the same. They are hard to clean and provide a perfect environment for the germs to grow. 
     

  • A crooked smile is never good for anyone's self-esteem. Correcting the teeth can bring out the confidence in your child and make him/her feel better about him/herself.

 

The Right Time to See an Orthodontist

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child get a consultation from an orthodontist at age 7. This is when the baby teeth start being replaced by permanent ones. At this age, the orthodontist can identify any present or underlying issues and plan the treatment as soon as is necessary.

 

However, getting a consultation doesn’t mean that your kid will have to wear braces right away. This will only help the orthodontist to plan any early intervention required or phase I treatment.

Options Available In Braces

Nowadays with the current technological advances, braces are not ugly-looking painful devices they used to be in the last century. Braces are much more comfortable and patient is able to pick colors of their choice! There are also other alternative such as removable clear aligners.

Conventional braces have evolved to quite minimal in size and considerably less painful. Furthermore, the metal brackets can also be replaced by ceramic or clear ones, which blend in with the tooth color and barely show. Some can even be attached to the back of the teeth. Also, the choice of colors available in elastic bands is something kids look forward to in each appointment. 

 

Then, there are clear braces or aligners, called the Invisalign. These are custom-made BPA-free plastic trays that straighten the teeth by putting pressure on the teeth. These are replaced several times during the treatment, getting tighter in each replacement, pulling the teeth towards a better alignment. Kids as young as 7 years old can have Invisalign.

 

After the treatment is complete, the orthodontist will put on a retainer for some time. It avoids teeth falling back into their original position. Retainers are available in petite wires or transparent plastic trays.

 

Taking Care of the Braces

Braces are quite easy to build up plaque and food debris; therefore, they need extra care. Our team will go over all the vital instructions before putting them on, but we'll enlist some here.

  • Brush after every meal. This is essential to remove any food particles that remain stuck to the teeth or braces.

  • Flossing is twice as important with braces. 

  • Avoid sticky, crunchy, and hard food. Popcorns and candies are not allowed. They can break or take out the brackets or wires and are therefore best avoided.

  • Stay away from sugar. Due to the high risk of developing cavities, children with braces should not consume sugary foods and drinks.

  • Stock up on soft foods such as noodles, spaghetti, rice, shredded chicken/beef, macaroni and cheese, soft tacos, yogurt, smoothies. These are great options to have while we're working on our smile. 

  • Keep some orthodontic wax handy. In case of any loose wire or a sharp edge of the brackets, apply some wax to avoid oral cuts or injury until it is possible to see your orthodontist about it.

  • Be punctual with the appointments. Try never to miss an appointment so the treatment could finish without any delays.

 

Cost of the Treatment

Many factors affect the cost of braces for kids. It depends on the severity of the case, how long the treatment takes, and your area where you reside. Usually, it ranges between $2,000-$5,000. 

Some FAQs

Q. Do I need braces? 

Ask yourself if you're self-conscious about your smile or if you have an overbite or underbite, overcrowding, crooked teeth, or other jaw alignment issues. If yes, then yes, you do.

Q. Can I eat Halloween candy with braces?

No, you cannot. Apart from being sugary, candy can damage your braces because they are either hard or sticky.

Q. What is Phase I treatment?

Phase I is an early intervention treatment that may begin as early as age 7. It is geared to take care of severe bite issues, overcrowding, or jaw issues. It is usually accompanied by Phase 2 treatment in the future.

Q. What are the best types of braces for kids? 

It depends on many factors, both clinical and personal choice. Your orthodontist will help you choose between conventional braces or Invisalign First clear aligners.