Over four million people in the US wear braces, either for cosmetic reasons, like straightening their teeth or to help correct a dental issue.
If you have a young child, you might get lucky and they’ll be blessed with straight teeth naturally. However, odds are that they’ll need braces for at least a little while.
So, when should kids get braces? And how do you know when it’s time for your child to visit the orthodontist for an evaluation?
You’ve come to the right place.
Keep reading for an overview of when to get braces, how to tell if your child needs them, and other helpful tips for parents of kids wearing braces.
Does Your Child Need Braces?
Before you can make any decisions about your child’s orthodontic needs, you first need to evaluate whether or not they even need braces.
Visiting the dentist every 6 months for regular cleanings and x-rays is a great first step. In doing so, your dentist can track changes and, if needed, recommend that your child visit an orthodontist for further evaluation.
Your dentist can also recommend a local orthodontist so you’ll have peace of mind knowing your child is in good hands.
However, even if your dentist doesn’t say anything, it’s not a bad idea to have a preliminary visit with an orthodontist by the time your child turns 7. Sometimes orthodontists can see issues that a dentist has overlooked.
There are also signs you can look out for that indicate your child needs to see an orthodontist.
These signs include:
- Difficulty biting or chewing
- Late loss of baby teeth
- Thumb sucking
- Clicking sound in the jaw
- Regular biting of the cheek when chewing
- Crowded teeth that overlap
- Grinding teeth
If you’ve noticed any of these signs, consider making an appointment with an orthodontist sooner rather than later.
When Should Kids Get Braces?
Generally speaking, your child should wait to get braces until they’ve lost their baby teeth and their permanent teeth have grown in.
Because kids develop at different rates, there’s not a magic age that all children need braces. However, most of the time, they’ll be ready for braces during their pre-teen and early teenage years, between ages nine and 14.
By taking your child to an orthodontic check-up, you’ll get a better idea of when your child should expect to get braces.
During the check-up, your orthodontist may identify a problem that needs to be treated quickly, in order to prevent more issues down the line.
In this case, early orthodontic treatment may be recommended. In some cases, that could mean getting braces on earlier than what is typical.
By keeping up with regular dental visits and scheduling an orthodontic check-up with the Children’s Dental & Orthodontics team, your child will be in good hands, with a recommended treatment plan customized to their specific needs.
Different Types of Braces
Once you’ve determined that your child does need braces, you’ll need to think about which type of braces make the most sense for their mouth.
While you might think of the traditional metal braces as the only option available, the truth is that today, there are more options than ever before.
Worried about the cost of braces? There are options available in a variety of prices, so there’s something for every budget.
If you had braces as a child, most likely you had the metal braces attached together by a thin wire. These are still a popular option, as they are the most affordable type of braces.
Plus, many kids like that they can express themselves by choosing colored bands to go on the brackets.
Clear Plastic Aligners
One of the most popular clear plastic aligning braces is Invisalign, which is a treatment plan that consists of custom-made plastic trays that fit over the teeth.
Every few weeks, your child gets new aligners, as the teeth begin adjusting. If your child is self-conscious about getting braces, this could be a great option, as it’s not as noticeable as traditional braces.
If you’re looking for a less noticeable braces option, but at a lower price point than Invisalign, ceramic braces could be a good compromise.
These look like traditional metal braces, but they are made with clear ceramic brackets, so they blend into the teeth and are far less noticeable.
Benefits of Braces
While most people tend to think of braces only as a way of straightening teeth, the truth is that there are countless benefits of getting braces.
If your child is hesitant to wear braces, remind them that it’s not forever and that braces can benefit them in the following ways:
- Straighter teeth, leading to more self-confidence
- Easier to keep up with proper dental hygiene
- Reduced risk of cavities
- Easier to chew food
- Reduced chance of grinding teeth
The right orthodontic treatment plan can set your child up for a lifetime of improved oral health.
Length of Treatment
Are you wondering how long your child will need to wear braces? The short answer is that it depends.
If your child has an overbite or underbite that needs correcting, they will likely have to wear their braces longer than someone who only has mild orthodontic issues.
However, on average, your child can expect to wear braces between one and three years. And, once their braces are removed, they may have to wear a retainer for several years afterward, to continue keeping their teeth aligned.
Put Your Child’s Teeth in Good Hands
Now that you know more about orthodontic treatment and can answer the question, “When should kids get braces?” it may be time to bring your child in for an orthodontic check-up.
We’re here to help! Request an appointment today so we can help you determine the right course of treatment for your child.