8 Questions you must ask your Child’s Orthodontist
Some children look forward to getting braces because they believe it will signal the start of their adolescence. While others, on the other hand, seem to be concerned about how they will feel or look. Whatever your child’s feelings are, you probably have some questions and concerns about braces of your own (including how you’re going to pay for them!). Here’s what you need to know about kids and braces.
By the age of seven, a child should have had an orthodontic evaluation.
An orthodontist is a dentist who has additional training in tooth alignment and straightening. The best time for your child to get dental braces is determined by the severity and cause of your child’s tooth misalignment.
Here are some signs that a child would benefit from seeing an orthodontist:
- Baby tooth loss can occur early, late, or irregularly.
- Chewing or biting difficulties
- Breathing through the mouth
- Sucking with one’s thumb or finger
- Teeth that are crowded misplaced, or blocked out
- Jaws that move make noises, protrude, or are recessed
- Biting one’s cheeks or the roof of one’s mouth
- Teeth that meet irregularly or do not meet at all
- Jaws and teeth that are too large in comparison to the rest of the face
Traditionally, dental braces treatment begins when a child has lost most of his or her baby (primary) teeth. The majority of adult (permanent) teeth have grown in — typically between 8 and 14. If treatment is required during this time, interceptive or preventive care can use your child’s growth to guide the desired outcome as development occurs.
Some orthodontists advocate an interceptive approach, which entails using dental appliances (not always dental braces) at a younger age, while a child’s teeth are still primarily baby teeth. When a child’s teeth are primarily adult, the second phase of treatment, usually with dental braces, is initiated. Some believe that this second phase will be shorter than a traditional course of braces if early treatment is done.
Orthodontists who prefer the traditional approach argue that a two-phase approach to treatment actually lengthens the total time — and sometimes the cost — of orthodontic treatment while producing generally similar results. On the other hand, other orthodontists believe that using dental appliances to guide growth before the second phase of treatment makes correction easier.
The best option for you and your child will be determined mainly by the severity of your child’s dental problems. Consult your child’s dentist or orthodontist to determine the best course of action.
What is the best age to start wearing braces?
The best age varies depending on the patient. Orthodontic treatment is most commonly initiated between the ages of 9 and 14 when children have at least some permanent teeth and are still growing.
Major orthodontic issues, such as crowding, excessive space between teeth, protruding upper teeth, extra or missing teeth, and jaw growth issues, are inherited. Other problems arise due to children sucking their thumbs or fingers, breathing through their mouths, or having poor dental hygiene, nutrition, or other issues.
Questions to ask your child’s orthodontist:
- What are the treatment options for my child?
- How long does it take to complete the treatment?
- How frequently should I bring my child in for an appointment?
- Will any of your teeth have to be extracted?
- Is my child going to be in a lot of pain during treatment?
- Will my child be restricted during orthodontic treatment?
- Will a retainer be required once my child has completed treatment?
- How much will my child’s orthodontic treatment cost?
There is no set age for a child’s first orthodontist visit; some children go when they are 6, others when they are 10, and still others when they are teenagers. Adults can also benefit from orthodontic treatment. Many orthodontists recommend that children see an orthodontist around seven when their permanent teeth begin to appear. Issues such as uneven bite and overcrowding will become apparent at this age.
Starting the process early does not guarantee that a child will receive braces right away. It simply means that the orthodontist will detect problems and determine the best time to begin treatment.
Finding an orthodontist who will treat your child is worth the time and effort. Straight teeth are more than just attractive; they can help keep your child’s mouth healthy for the rest of his or her life.