Many parents are unsure of the best time to get braces or orthodontic work done for their kids. Every child is different and consulting a pediatric dentist is the ultimate deciding factor, but the following information can help you gain a deeper understanding of the process and when to bring your child in for a consult.
When should my child begin braces?
Since pediatric dentists see your child regularly they have a front row seat to their development. However, it is recommended you bring your child to an orthodontist at age 7 or 8. Your child will likely not be ready for braces yet, but this allows the orthodontist to assess the development of your child’s teeth and facial bones and begin to give you an idea of upcoming treatment plans.
If your child does need orthodontic work done at this age, bringing them in now rather than later can help decrease work done in the future.
Facts about Braces for kids
For young children, metal braces are usually recommended. While there are other options such as Invisalign, those treatments are usually reserved for adults as metal braces are more durable, easier to care for and are less likely to get lost. Orthodontics has proven to be a very effective way to handle teeth and jaw issues. Getting orthodontic work done as a child is especially effective do the malleability of the softer, developing jaw bone, making it easier to address underbites, overbites and other issues while avoiding surgery.
Straightening teeth using braces typically takes about two years. The process could be shorter for those needing less work done, or longer for those with more serious orthodontic needs. When you bring your child into our office we will examine his or her mouth and make a recommendation for a treatment plan and how long you can expect to be in braces.
What Your Child Can Expect
It’s important for patients to be aware of what’s going on with any procedures being done in their mouth, even children. Children can, and typically do, take an interest in their health at a young age. We always make time to patiently answer children’s questions, we want them to feel calm and at ease.
While wearing braces, children can expect to visit their orthodontist regularly for routine appointments. In these appointments, typically we will make small adjustments and replace wires and rubber bands. Kids usually get excited to pick a new color band for the month to express their personality. While wearing braces, children can expect to make small changes to their diet to accommodate their braces. This includes trying not to eat hard, crunchy foods, or foods that are very sticky. These foods can damage braces, causing brackets to be replaced.
Finally, children can expect to have to take extra good care of their teeth. Braces hold foods onto the teeth, and it’s nearly impossible to get them entirely clean with brushing alone. Your child should brush and floss as usual, as well as use small brush-like picks to get in between brackets and wires. Minor changes to their daily cleaning routine can make a huge difference in maintaining a healthy smile.
Visit Orthodontics and Dentistry for Kids
To learn more about braces for children or to find out if they are the right solution for your child, call and schedule an appointment today!
Dr. Perez has been in the private practice of Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics for almost 30 years. He has been educated in top universities around the world, receiving training in the United States, Spain and Mexico. He is currently a member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Dr. Perez is fluent in both Spanish and English.