Different children will have different reactions to the news that they’ll soon be getting braces. Some may feel worried that the braces are going to feel painful or uncomfortable, and that they might look different. Others, however, feel excitement because they consider their need for braces as a sign that they are quickly growing up. Today we explore a family’s journey in preparing for kids’ braces.
It’s important for you to be able to help your son or daughter understand what kids’ braces are like and what they are designed to do; this way, they can become more open to the experience as well as more mindful of their personal dental health. When used correctly, braces can give your child a beautiful, healthy smile.
Here’s what you should know about preparing for kids’ braces
Who should get braces?
Children may be advised to get braces due to specific reasons. If your teeth are crooked, overcrowded, or overlapping, braces are the best solution. It’s also recommended for kids who have top and bottom jaws that differ greatly in size (a kid may have a bigger upper jaw, called an overbite, or a bigger lower jaw, called an underbite).
When can a dentist tell that a kid needs braces?
A family or pediatric dentist will be able to observe any potential dental problems in your child from regular visits and can recommend seeing an orthodontist when your son or daughter is as young as six years old. Some kids, however, go when they are older, and even in their teens.
In general, dental issues that call for treatment using braces become identifiable when a child is around seven years old.
What will happen at the orthodontist’s office?
On your first visit, the orthodontist will thoroughly examine your kid’s mouth, jaw, teeth and gums, and ask whether they experience any problems when chewing or swallowing, or strange sounds like popping or clicking from the jaw.
The orthodontist can also take an impression of your child’s teeth by pressing a tray with soft material into the teeth. X-rays of the teeth and mouth may also be taken to help the orthodontist determine the best treatment program to use.
Are there different types of braces?
Yes. Kids are most familiar with traditional braces made of metal brackets, wires and rubber bands. Some prefer to get ceramic braces which are colored white and are less noticeable than metal ones. There are also lingual braces which are attached behind the teeth instead of in front.
In certain cases, an orthodontist may recommend clear removable braces (Invisalign) instead of conventional braces.
For some children, wearing headgear at night may also be prescribed.
How long should the braces be worn?
Braces are typically worn for about two years, but this can vary depending on the particular dental problems that the orthodontist is trying to address. The treatment period can also depend on the child’s ability to follow the proper care and usage instructions. After a kid is done with braces, he or she will then wear a specially designed retainer to keep the teeth from going back to their old places.