Sometimes, kids need braces. I mean, I wore them as a child and I even still wear a night brace now. Read on to hear what parents need to know.
For many children, young people and even adults, braces are a rite of passage. But then, how do you know, as a parent, if braces might be necessary for your child? How do you deal with any issues that may arise?
Your child should have their teeth checked by an orthodontist by age seven, or earlier if you have concerns. Talk to your dentist if you’re worried about something specific, and they’ll be able to advise you on whether an orthodontist’s appointment is necessary.
Early warning signs that your child may need to see an orthodontist include:
- Breathing through their mouth
- Irregular loss of baby teeth
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- Difficulty chewing
- Too many teeth or overcrowding in the mouth
- Thumb or finger-sucking
- Clicking jaws
- Misplaced ‘bite’
Many of these issues, such as overcrowding or gaps between teeth, are hereditary. Others are caused by habits such as thumb-sucking, or by poor dental hygiene or nutrition.
For more information about these warning signs or other dentistry questions, visit Kabani family dentistry in GA.
Opting for Braces
Most children who need braces are fitted with their braces between the ages of 9 and 14. At the initial visit, the orthodontist will take a careful examination of their teeth, mouth, and jaw and take a look at their bite. The orthodontist will also ask about any problems such as clicking of the jaw, or problems regarding chewing or biting.
If necessary, the orthodontist will also X-ray your child’s mouth to take a better look at how their teeth sit in the mouth, and may also take a mold (molds are made by pressing the putty into the mouth, leaving an impression of the teeth).
Once all this initial investigation has been carried out, your orthodontist will make a treatment recommendation based on their findings.
Types of Braces
Braces are fitted to correct alignment issues, but different types of braces are used depending on the problem that needs to be corrected.
The most common type of brace is fitted as a bracket to individual teeth, connected by thin wire and rubber bands. Over time, the wire is tightened to re-position the teeth. These braces are most often metal, but are also available in clear plastic or white ceramic styles. Kids can also choose rubber bands in bright colors if they want to.
For some children, a removable brace is more appropriate. These braces are plastic trays that can be taken out and are usually only worn for a set number of hours per day.
If your child requires a more involved orthodontic solution such as headgear, don’t worry. Headgear is generally only worn at night and exists simply to exert more force on the teeth.
Once braces have been removed, some children will need to wear a ‘retainer’ – a small piece of plastic with metal wire, or sometimes a mouthguard-shaped piece of plastic. Retainers prevent the teeth from moving back to their original positions.