Braces have come a long way from the days of bulky orthodontic equipment and headgear. With several innovative options on the market today, it’s easier than ever to give your kids the gift of confidence with a radiant smile they can feel good about. Straight teeth can also help maintain a clean mouth, prevent tooth decay and gum disease, support speech development, and ensure optimal dental function.
Here’s what you need to know about braces for kids and the many oral health benefits of starting orthodontic treatment early from our children’s dentistry experts.
When it’s time for braces, Absolute Dental has you covered. Schedule an appointment for your child today!
What is the best age to get braces for a child?
The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that children have an initial orthodontic check-up at the first sign of alignment issues and no later than seven years old. While braces treatment typically starts between the ages of nine and 14, many children with more severe orthodontic problems can benefit from earlier treatment.
According to the AAO, some warning signs that may indicate you should consult an orthodontist include the following:
- Crowding or overlapping teeth
- Difficulties with biting or chewing
- Protruding teeth from pacifier use or thumb-sucking
- Top and bottom teeth do not touch when the mouth is closed
- Repeated biting of the cheeks
- Teeth grinding or clenching
- Facial or jaw imbalance
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
When you see these red flags, it’s time to schedule an appointment with a dental professional who specializes in pediatric dentistry and orthodontics.
Which braces are best for children?
Which orthodontic treatment is best for your child depends on several factors, including the severity of the misalignment, your child’s age, and if interceptive treatment was performed. Some choices to consider are:
Metal braces can feel bulky or cause irritation for some kids, but they also effectively correct misalignments without the need to remove them. They stay in place throughout the treatment period and come with fun colored bands to help kids personalize their braces. Metal braces can also help with jaw misalignments and malocclusions that can result in poor biting and chewing.
Ceramic or clear braces are another option for your kid’s orthodontic treatment. While they are similar to metal braces in that they use wires and brackets to create tension that aligns the teeth, the brackets are clear or tooth-colored, making them less noticeable. However, they are generally less durable than metal braces and move the teeth more slowly.
Invisible braces are by far the most discreet choice for straightening teeth. Using a set of clear plastic aligners, invisible braces gently move the teeth into the ideal position without the need for brackets or wires. However, they must be removed when eating. This means that successful treatment depends on the patient’s cooperation in wearing them for 22 hours a day, which can be difficult for children to manage on their own.
To find the right braces for kids, work with an experienced orthodontist who can help you decide what will work best for your child.
Do all kids need braces?
Not all children will need braces. However, the sooner you identify orthodontic issues and seek treatment, the faster and easier they will be to correct. Even if your child is too young for braces, interceptive treatment can help to set them up for success as they grow. For example, your orthodontist may recommend removing certain baby teeth to allow for better development and placement of permanent teeth.
According to a review in the EAS Journal of Dentistry and Oral Medicine, research shows that correcting crooked teeth and malocclusions in children can be beneficial by preventing the issue from progressing, improving the appearance of their current smile, and boosting the child’s self-esteem. The article also identifies several factors that may cause your child to need braces, such as:
- Losing baby teeth too early
- Spacing between the front teeth
- Abnormalities in the number of teeth
- Tooth shape or size anomalies
Why do parents make their kids get braces?
Parents often support orthodontic treatment for their children for several reasons. While a beautifully straight smile is an obvious advantage of braces, aligned teeth can also help maintain good oral health. Braces can:
- Alleviate pain or discomfort in the teeth
- Improve biting and chewing
- Lead to clearer speech
- Prevent overcrowding that can cause tooth decay
- Promote a cleaner mouth
- Boost confidence
How much do braces cost?
Braces are generally not covered by dental insurance as a cosmetic treatment. However, depending on what type of coverage you have, your insurance may reimburse you for some of the cost of braces. Also, if orthodontic treatment is medically necessary for oral health, you should review your insurance policy to see if that is included in your coverage.
The type of braces you get for your child will also impact the overall cost. Many dental professionals offer payment plans that make braces more accessible and affordable. If you have questions about the cost of your child’s braces, speak with your orthodontist to learn more about payment options.
Schedule an appointment with an orthodontist today!
If you suspect your child will need braces, seeing a skilled orthodontist as early as possible will make all the difference. Absolute Dental specializes in pediatric dental care and orthodontic treatment for young patients. Contact our team to book an appointment or learn more about the types of braces we offer in your area.
Naidu, S., et al. (2019). Does My Child Need Braces?-A Comprehensive Review.