When Should My Child Get Braces?

While many think orthodontic work should wait until the teenage years, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children see an orthodontist around the age of 7. Around this age, children have a mixture of baby teeth and permanent teeth, making it easier to move the teeth and jaw. Being proactive with your child’s orthodontics is a great way to save time, money, and discomfort later on in their life. At Sherman & Balhoff Orthodontics, our initial consultation is complimentary and no referral is necessary.

Benefits Of Early Treatment

In addition to leaving patients with beautifully straight teeth, braces work to fix many other orthodontic issues that many people often overlook. Braces align the teeth and jaw so the way we chew, breathe, and speak does not cause discomfort. Orthodontists are able to predict these kinds of problems early on in a child’s life based on how the teeth and jaw are developing. Starting treatment at an early age has shown much quicker and more effective results rather than starting in later years.

When you bring your child in for their first appointment, one of our orthodontists will conduct an oral examination and take X-rays of the maxillofacial area. This will help us see if your child is likely to experience overcrowding or bite misalignment as their teeth and jaw continue to grow. If your orthodontist sees any potential problems, they will be able to explain your options moving forward and allow time to answer all of your questions. Alternatively, if your child does not require any intervention at this time, your orthodontist may ask you to return for periodic check-ups to monitor tooth development.

Life With Braces

Braces generally do not cause significant changes to a child’s life. They are not painful but may cause some soreness after they are tightened. This discomfort can be alleviated with a pain reducer and eating soft foods for a day or two after visiting the orthodontist. Sometimes, friction between the brackets and the inner gums can lead to tenderness, which we recommend treating with dental wax. This non-toxic wax can be used to cover brackets and leave a smooth surface that will not bother your child.

One lifestyle change that is very important to make a habit while your child wears braces is avoiding hard, sticky, and chewy foods. These foods tend to break and damage braces, leading to wires poking out and emergency visits to the orthodontist. Another small change is to make sure your child is wearing a braces-friendly mouthguard during sports or other physical activities. We encourage children to run, play, and enjoy themselves while wearing braces, but to do so in a safe manner that won’t harm their teeth or braces.

When your child has braces on, it is important to remind them that they can’t skimp on dental hygiene. Many children do not like brushing or flossing their teeth, and braces can make these habits more of a nuisance sometimes. It is imperative that you encourage your child to brush twice a day, and use the flosser provided by your orthodontist to clean in between their teeth. Braces brackets act as a magnet for plaque and buildup, making it paramount to keep up good dental hygiene during treatment so that your child will not only have straighter teeth by the end of their treatment but healthy ones too!

Can My Child Lead An Active Life With Braces?

The good news is that your child can absolutely continue to live an active lifestyle throughout their braces treatment – it’s just that they (and you) will need to keep a few key things in mind.

If your child plays sports, for example, they’re definitely going to want to wear a mouthguard or some other form of protection during play. This is not only to protect their teeth but to protect the bracket and wire system that make up their braces.

It’s also worth noting that there are certain types of foods they’re definitely going to want to stay away from, including anything that is particularly sticky, chewy, or hard. This doesn’t necessarily tie into the “active” part of an “active lifestyle,” but it’s a lifestyle consideration all the same.

The Cost Of Braces

It’s difficult to predict exactly how much braces will cost for your child, as the amount you’ll pay will ultimately be impacted by a wide array of different factors. The total length of treatment time will absolutely contribute to the cost, for example, as will the nature of the specific types of issues you’re trying to correct.

But don’t worry – our team will go over everything with you after your initial consultation so that you’ll have a more complete and specific picture of the exact cost of treatment moving forward.