As a parent, we want to keep our kids happy and healthy, right?
So one of the questions we ask is "How do I know if my child needs braces?" One of the most common questions we hear is:
"When should my child see an orthodontist?"
Braces is a topic that can be very confusing and intimidating to a parent, and it’s common for us as your orthodontist to receive quite a lot of questions surrounding the subject. To help increase knowledge and lower your stress, we’ve decided to address some of the major questions we receive about braces for kids.
How can I tell if my child needs braces?
The short answer is, unless you happen to be an orthodontist or dentist there’s a good chance you won’t know for sure. But there are specific signs that your child may need braces, including: crooked or overlapping teeth, overly crowded teeth, losing baby teeth too soon, or malocclusion — a fancy word for when a child has a poor bite because of a difference in the size of the top and bottom jawbone. These are all indicators that can often be spotted by a parent just by making a visual inspection, although mild malocclusion is often not obvious, and requires an orthodontist's evaluation.
There are also indicators that a parent would not typically be able to see, the most notorious of which is tooth decay. This is why it’s so important for your child to see his or her dentist regularly — even as a toddler — because something that goes unseen by a parent will be obvious to a dentist or orthodontist. Even if your child doesn’t need braces, we want to make sure that any tooth decay is addressed promptly. In addition, sometimes a child’s X-rays can be an good indicator for a future need for braces.
At First Choice Dental, we believe it’s very important for parents, and their child, to ask any questions they may have about braces or any other subject that’s connected to dental wellness. We like to have these discussions during your child's dental visit so we can address any concerns on the spot. In discussing the possible need for orthodontic braces, your dentist or orthodontist will be able to give you clear, easy-to-understand answers based on what he or she sees going on with your child’s teeth.
Another First Choice Dental perk is that orthodontic consultations for children are absolutely FREE until actual orthodontic treatment begins. Schedule your free orthodontic consultation online anytime, or give us a call at 608-848-0820.
How young is too young for braces?
Although there is no age limit for a visit to the orthodontist, a good rule of thumb is to schedule an appointment once a child’s permanent teeth begin to come in, which is typically around age 7. The American Association of Orthodontists and the American Dental Association both recommend all kids be evaluated for orthodontics by this age.
Since our kids’ orthodontic consultations are free, just bring your child in whenever that first adult tooth comes through, or by age 7, whichever comes first, and we’ll be happy to take a look!
No matter what your child’s age, if your First Choice Dental dentist feels a visit to the orthodontist is necessary, or you have concerns you’d like addressed, a free orthodontic consultation may be in order.
What kind of braces are best for my child?
So, you’ve met with your orthodontist and determined that braces are the right next step. But what type of braces are the best choice? This discussion can often go beyond strictly oral health considerations (which is still the number one concern) into the realm of aesthetic. Since your child will be going to school and other activities with braces on full display, it’s important for the child to feel comfortable with what they’re “wearing.”
The good news is that there is often a variety of options for a child to choose from. Since many kids need braces with wires and rubber bands, they may want to choose their favorite color for the bands. This may appear trivial to an adult, but it can make a world of difference to a child.
In addition to braces with colored bands, options for braces include:
• Traditional metal braces (often with clear brackets for minimal noticeability)
• Invisalign® Braces
• Ceramic braces
• Lingual braces
Once we determine what type or types are appropriate for your child, we’ll show you samples and discuss the different options for each. We want to make sure that braces for all kids (and adults, by the way) fit their teeth and their personality well. Sometimes that means making braces fun!
Some children may also need additional devices such as headgear (typically only worn at night), and/or retainers (which are used to keep teeth in place after braces are removed). Some retainers are removable, some are fixed and some even glow in the dark!
How long will my child have to wear braces?
The answer to this question depends on many factors that can only be determined by your child’s orthodontist. That being said, the average is somewhere around two years.
Is it ever too late to straighten those teeth?
Absolutely not! According to the American Association of Orthodontists, 1 in 5 new orthodontic patients is an adult, and some of these patients are in their 60s or 70s. No matter what your age, if a straighter smile is something you’re interested in, it might be a good idea to schedule a complimentary consultation to see if braces are a good solution.
What about insurance & financing options for orthodontics?
Our dentists and orthodontists accept most dental insurances, so there’s a very good chance that if you have insurance it will be accepted at First Choice Dental. Check out our Dental Insurance page, or simply call us at (608) 848-0820 for more information about dental insurance.
For those who don’t have insurance, or who need assistance handling the uncovered portion of orthodontic treatment, we have flexible payment plans to help make things more manageable. Feel free to call us for more info on these plans, or simply drop by when you have a few minutes to discuss.