Many kids feel worried about having braces, thinking about what they will look like or feel. But regardless of what your child feels, you may have some concerns and questions on this orthodontic device.
Below are some important information you should know about kids and braces.
Why are Braces Necessary for Children?Children may need to wear braces for a number of reason:
- Overlapping teeth
- Crooked teeth
- Overcrowded teeth
Your pediatric dentist will be the first to see these problems and may advice to see an orthodontist – a dentist whose expertise is in fixing teeth alignment issues. The orthodontist will decide if your child will need braces or not.
Many orthodontist suggest seeing an orthodontist when the permanent teeth begin to emerge, usually at around the age of 7 as dental issues like overcrowding or uneven bite become noticeable. Seeing an orthodontist this early does not mean that your child will get braces immediately. It means that he’ll be able to identify the problem and be able to decide the best course of treatment.
What to Expect from the First Orthodontist VisitDuring your first visit, the dentist will carefully check the mouth, teeth and jaw. He may examine your child’s bite and ask questions about issues with swallowing, chewing and talking, or know if there’s popping or clicking of the jaw.
The orthodontist may request for X-ray procedure on the oral cavity and the jaw to check the teeth positions. The dentist will make an impression of the child’s teeth using a small container with sticky material. When the material is removed and harden, a replica of the child’s teeth is produced and this allows the orthodontist to choose the best treatment option.
Different Types of BracesBraces can fix misalignment by placing steady pressure on the teeth. The teeth gradually moves into a straighter, aligned position. Braces for children comes with wires, rubber bands and brackets. The brackets are individually glued to the teeth and are secured with rubber bands or wire. The rubber band come in many different colors that kids can choose. The wire is tightened slowly over time until the teeth becomes aligned.
Metal braces are still used nowadays but there are other options such as clear ceramic braces. Some choose to place it behind the teeth.
Once the braces are attached, your child should visit the dentist every month for adjustments and monitoring. The duration your child will wear them depends on the severity of the condition but the average time is about 2 years. After that, your child will wear retainer, which is a small, strong plastic with metal wires that looks like a mouthguard. Retainers are necessary to keep teeth in place.
How to Care Your BracesSince food gets easily stuck on metal braces, children wearing them must be extra careful on the food they eat as well as maintaining their teeth clean. Regular tooth brushing and daily flossing are necessary. Your orthodontist will recommend a special floss you can use for braces.
Your child should also refrain from eating certain foods such as gum, popcorn and sticky or hard candy as these food items can potentially damage braces.
Braces can be uncomfortable to wear, particularly when the dentists make adjustments. Having soft diet and taking pain reliever help ease the pain. Visit your dentist if the child has a loose bracket or wire, or if it is poking his/her mouth.