Even if your child seems to have perfectly straight teeth, there are other reasons why an orthodontist—a dentist who focuses on teeth and jaw alignment—might recommend braces for your child. Here are the top 10 things you need to know about braces for kids.
- A first orthodontic screening is recommended by age 7
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children go to their first orthodontic check-up by age 7. This helps catch any concerns early. Most kids won’t need braces at this age, but a treatment plan for any jaw or bite issues can be developed if necessary.
We do everything possible to make braces for kids teeth affordable for those who need them. We accept Medicaid and other insurance plans, plus offer a number of affordable payment plans for those without insurance.
- Braces help with jaw and teeth alignment
Even if your child’s teeth seem straight, braces might be recommended to improve your child’s bite. When upper and lower teeth fit together properly, it’s easier to speak, chew and bite.
- The benefits of straight teeth are more than just aesthetic
A healthy smile builds confidence, but there are other benefits of braces for kids. Straight teeth are easier to brush and floss, so chances of cavities and gum disease goes down. A proper bite also reduces damage to the teeth caused by grinding and chipping. A bad bite can also contribute to headaches.
- Two phases of braces are possible
If a child’s baby teeth might cause the permanent teeth to come in with issues or if a bite needs corrected, a first round of braces might be recommended between ages 7-10 when the palate (the roof of the mouth) and jaw bones are more flexible and before permanent teeth come in. Then, a second round of braces for kids could be recommended after age 12 in some cases. This helps straighten permanent teeth.
- Braces for kids stay on teeth for 9 to 30 months (or longer)
Depending on what needs fixed and how fast your child’s teeth and jaw respond to treatment, braces for kids can stay on teeth for 9 months to several years.
Metal braces are the most common and cheap braces for kids. Kids can pick from a wide range of colors for their elastic bands and mix and match them each visit. Other types of braces that are less common for kids include ceramic, porcelain, clear and removable liners such as Invisalign®.
- Brushing and flossing take a bit of extra effort when kids have braces
Be sure to follow the orthodontist’s directions for brushing and flossing. Swish with water before brushing and after eating to loosen food that might be caught in the braces. Kids with braces should floss at least once per day.
- Continue professional cleanings and exams every six months
When kids have braces on they still need to visit the dentist for cleanings and exams every six months. In some cases, the dentist might want to see your child more frequently in order to keep teeth healthy.
- Some foods should be avoided when you have braces
If there is damage to braces, it can lengthen the treatment time. When your child has braces they should avoid sticky foods such as taffy, caramel or gum which could damage braces and hard foods such as popcorn kernels, whole apples and corn on the cob. You should limit access to sugary foods and drinks to prevent cavities.
Our orthodontic team will help guide you every step of the way regarding the best braces for your child and the best treatment plan. Schedule an orthodontic evaluation to learn more about braces for kids.