According to the American Academy of Orthodontics, every child should have an appointment with an orthodontist when they’re around seven years old. This is because if the child needs braces, starting the treatment early will largely improve the outcome. However, the first question is, are braces necessary?
Even though early treatment is better, no one is too old for braces. Children regardless of their ages as long as they have permanent teeth can still get braces if they need to. Orthodontists recommend that braces be fitted between the ages of 10 to 14 when the mouth is still growing, and the teeth are more likely to straighten.
If your kid needs braces, here are a few things that you need to know before considering the treatment.
Prepare Your Kid for the Treatment
The process of fixing braces takes an average of two hours, and since many kids are afraid of the dentist’s chair, you need to prepare your kid for it. They should also know what to expect from the treatment both during and after the treatment. You should reassure your kid as much as possible so that they can understand that the procedure is common, and there is nothing to worry about.
You can also tell them that the procedure is not painful before you can take them along with you for a consultation. This will make them feel free and confident to go.
Encourage them to ask a lot of questions. Remember, your kid might need to wear braces for two or more years, so they should also be prepared for that.
Consult a Pediatric Orthodontist
While it may appear as though your child’s teeth look straight, there might be some underlying problems that you might know of. Orthodontists are experts who can determine all underlying issues and also recommend the right method of treatment.
Consulting a pediatric dentist is also the best way of ensuring that your child gets the right braces and care. Keep your kid in the loop too so that they can get to ask questions, choose the color they would like to have, and also know why they are getting the braces. This way, they will be comfortable with the treatment.
Stock up on Soft Foods
Braces can be very uncomfortable, especially during the first few weeks. Before your kid gets used to wearing braces, they might have a hard time chewing hard foods. This is why you should buy a lot of soft foods like:
- Mashed potatoes
- Ice cream
- and other soft foods
No matter how old your child is, they’ll still want to eat soft foods before they get used to eating with the braces. You will save yourself a lot of time if you stock up your fridge and pantry before you take your kid for the treatment.
Buy Orthodontic Wax
Wearing and getting used to braces is a painful process. Your kid will experience pain, irritation, or mouth sores on the lips and gums. Even though all these will fade away after a couple of weeks, you still need to get them a remedy for the pain.
To help your kid through the pain and discomfort, you should consider getting braces wax, which forms a protective layer around the brackets, and this reduces the metal or plastic rubbing on the mouth. You can also get some over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen. Talk to your orthodontist on the wax to buy and any other remedy that can help your kid through the first few weeks.
The Cost and Treatment Options Are Different
Braces are not cheap. The treatment period can take two or more years, and this will depend on how much or how long it will take to straighten the teeth and fix the child’s bite. Some methods can work faster, but the treatment option will depend on individual prognosis. Since teeth alignment is essential, your kid will need treatment, this can be very costly, especially if your medical insurance does not cover it.
The cost of braces varies depending on:
- The age of the kid
- Your location
- The clinic
- Type of braces
- Other complicating issues
During the treatment period, you’ll also have to take your kid back for several appointments to have the braces tightened or just for a regular checkup. You need to be ready to meet such costs.
How to Tell If Your Kid Needs Braces
It’s not easy to tell whether your child needs braces or not, and since braces are expensive, it is normal for many parents to choose not to get the treatment. However, braces are essential, especially if your kid has crooked teeth.
Here are a few signs that you can look out for:
- Crowded teeth
- Thumb sucking
- Using a pacifier after two years
- Breathing through mouth
- Clicking jaws
- Teeth that do not touch when the mouth is closed
- Late or an early loss of baby teeth
- Frequent biting of the tongue, inside the cheek, and roof of the mouth
Some of the reasons why your kid may require braces include poor dental hygiene, poor nutrition during the infant and toddler stages, and genes. Whichever the cause, you should seek treatment for your kid as soon as possible.
Remember, there is a difference between getting braces for cosmetic reasons and needing them to fix a problem with the teeth or for general oral health. Speak to your kid’s dentist if you see any of these signs to know the right treatment to take.
Are Braces Necessary? – Consult a Professional Dentist to Be Sure
One of the common questions that parents ask is, are braces necessary? This can be because they are expensive, and also no parent wants their kid to go through the treatment if it’s not necessary. To know if braces are the right treatment option for your kid, ensure that you speak to a pediatric dentist near you first before scheduling for the treatment.
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