When Should My Child Get Braces?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that a child see an orthodontist for an evaluation by the age of seven.
However, this can vary depending on each child. Some children go as early as six-years-old, for example, while some can wait until they’re 10. Some even make it all the way into their teens before seeing an orthodontist.
Having said that, it’s a general rule of thumb to make an appointment with an orthodontist when your child’s permanent teeth first start to come in. In a lot of kids, this starts to happen around the age of seven but again – it could easily vary.
When the permanent teeth start to come in, certain issues can start to develop like an uneven bite. At that point, your orthodontist may want to begin braces treatment (or some other option) sooner rather than later to be as proactive as possible.
How Do I Know if My Child Needs to See an Orthodontist?
Generally speaking, you should take your child to see an orthodontist if any of the issues that braces are designed to correct begin to develop. Keep in mind that kids can potentially need braces for a wide range of different reasons, including things like crooked teeth, overlapped teeth, overcrowded teeth, and more.
Another common reason why kids need braces is called a “bad bite,” otherwise formally referred to as a malocclusion. This is when the child’s mouth actually has a different sized top jaw relative to the bottom one. When the top jaw area is larger than the bottom one, this is what you’ve likely heard referred to as an overbite. When the reverse is true and the lower jaw is the larger one, this is called an underbite. Both conditions are fairly common.
Seeing a dentist, in general, is always important because this professional will be among the first to realize that these types of issues are starting to develop. Sooner or later, they’ll recommend that you take your child to see an orthodontist – and at that point, it’s absolutely in your best interest to listen.
What to Expect When Getting Braces for Kids
Although the actual treatment experience will vary depending on the child, there are a few common things you can expect during this important time in their lives.
Chief among these is the first visit to the orthodontist, wherein a dental professional will conduct a careful examination of your child’s teeth and even jaw. Your child may be asked to bite their teeth together, for example, and they’ll be asked to go into detail about whether or not they have difficulties chewing or swallowing. All of this will help the orthodontist recommend the best course of action moving forward.
During these first few visits, Dr. VanLue will take X-rays of the mouth and teeth to see if any adult teeth still need to grow. They’ll go over everything with you in great detail so that you can decide whether or not braces are something you want to explore and if they are, things can begin right away.
At that point, Dr. VanLue will likely make an impression of your child’s teeth using a very particular type of material that starts soft and then hardens. Once the hardening is complete, you’ll be left with a replica of your child’s teeth – which is again is valuable in terms of determining which treatment options are the best.
Because kids aren’t necessarily the best at oral hygiene in general, you’re going to have to be proactive about making sure they’re brushing and flossing their teeth for the duration of treatment. You absolutely don’t want anything to get lodged in between the brackets or wires, as doing so could damage the braces and create unnecessary delays. You’ll also want to make sure they avoid certain types of foods that could cause damage themselves, like particularly hard candies or chewy foods like pizza crusts.
Throughout this time, you’ll want to stress the importance of proper oral hygiene in any way that you can and make sure they understand that everything they’re going through is ultimately for their own good.
The Cost of Braces
Ultimately, it’s difficult to say exactly how much you’ll pay for your child’s braces because the cost is impacted by so many different factors. The specific types of issues that you’re trying to correct ultimately play a role, as certain problems take longer to correct than more cosmetic ones.
All of this is to say that while most people usually spend a few thousand dollars for braces for their child, this isn’t necessarily a guarantee. Don’t worry, your orthodontist will go over all of this with you in great detail so you know exactly what to expect after that initial examination has been completed.