Braces for Kids: What You Need to Know
When should my child get braces?
The age at which your child will get traditional metal braces is heavily dictated by when they take their first trip to the orthodontist. One of the most important things for you to understand about this is that there is really no one set age for that to happen.
Some kids see the orthodontist for the first time as early as age six. Others wait until they’re ten. Some don’t go until they’re well into their teenage years. It is really going to depend on the child in question, and even then, it will likely be influenced by whether or not you see certain types of issues (like an over or underbite) start to develop.
Having said all of that, most kids wait to see an orthodontist until their permanent teeth begin to come in, which usually happens right around the age of seven. At that point, some of the more long-term issues like overcrowding will start to reveal themselves, and an orthodontist can make a recommendation about whether or not they need traditional metal braces at that time.
However, keep in mind that even if you go to the orthodontist early, it does NOT mean your child will be fitted for a set of braces right away. It simply means that a dental professional will be able to collect all of the accurate, actionable information they need to make the best decisions possible moving forward.
How do I know if my child needs to see an orthodontist?
Typically speaking, you’ll know if your child needs to see an orthodontist if certain types of issues begin to reveal themselves. The most obvious of these will be issues related to the spacing of teeth, including crooked teeth, overlapping teeth, overcrowded teeth, and more. However, some issues may be a bit more difficult to spot – like malocclusion, when there is a difference in size between the top and bottom jaws. When the upper jaw is bigger, this is called an overbite. When the lower jaw is bigger, this is called an underbite.
As these issues start to develop, you may notice that your child is having difficulty biting or eating. It’s important to note that these types of tooth and jaw problems aren’t necessarily your fault, and a wide range of different things can cause them. This includes things like losing baby teeth too soon (which you obviously have no control over), certain types of accidents, or even habits that the child can’t kick, like thumb sucking.
More often than not, your child’s dentist is going to be the first one to notice these types of problems during one of their regular visits. At that point, they will likely recommend that you take the child to see an orthodontist so that treatment can be explored further.
What to expect when getting braces for kids?
During the initial visit with the orthodontist, they will thoroughly examine not only your child’s teeth but also their mouth and jaw. He or she will likely ask your child to bite their teeth together to see exactly what they’re dealing with, and they’ll likely ask a series of questions that will help shed light on whether or not the child is having trouble chewing or swallowing. They will also pay attention to several other common signs that there are issues, like a popping or clicking of the jaw.
At that point, the orthodontist will likely take x-rays of the child’s mouth and teeth to help better understand their positioning and see whether or not any other permanent teeth still need to come in. Once the option of braces is being explored seriously, the orthodontist will take a mold of the child’s teeth using a gooey material that will then harden into a perfect replica of their mouth.
Based on everything they’ve learned up to this point, the orthodontist will likely make a recommendation as to traditional metal braces or with regards to any other treatment option they may feel is necessary.
The cost of braces
Every patient is different and it is important to create a plan that is just right for you. The cost of your treatment will depend on this custom treatment plan and will vary depending on the length of time and complexity. We can tell you the exact amount once we have seen you for your initial exam and consultation. We offer an array of payment options, family and professional discounts, and flexible financing. It is our goal to remove any and all barriers so you can achieve a beautiful healthy smile.