Braces can be a wonderful option for patients of all ages, and that includes your little one! There is a common misconception that braces are meant for older teens, but this treatment can be just as effective, if not more so, on young children. While the mouth and jaw are still forming, we can make changes more effectively to areas that may experience issues later on. At McClaran Orthodontics, we treat your young children with the same care we would give our own, and we want you to feel comfortable in the knowledge that we are the best team for your child’s needs.
When Should My Child Get Braces?
There is no exact age when a child should get braces; it all depends on the child’s orthodontic needs. We usually begin to see young children around the age of 7 because this is when permanent teeth begin to come in. However, if you or your dentist begin noticing problems before that, you should feel no need to wait.
As long as your child has a healthy mouth, meaning no gum disease or rotting, they can be a candidate for braces. Our first visits are complimentary, so we suggest bringing your child in whenever you notice issues so that we can begin assessing their current and future treatment needs right away.
How Do I Know If My Child Needs to See an Orthodontist?
Orthodontics covers a wide range of issues relating to the mouth and jaw. As your child’s mouth is forming, certain problems may begin to arise and worsen as the years go by. We like to see your child early on so that we can solve problems before they get worse and help your child have a smile they’re proud to wear. Whether it be problems caused by thumb-sucking or something they’ve inherited, we can help.
Another common misconception about young children going to the orthodontist is that they have to be referred by their general dentist. No one spends more time with their young children than you, so you are the one who is most likely to spot problems as they arise. If you aren’t sure what problems merit concern or are unsure what to look for, here are a few orthodontic issues your child may face:
- Crooked teeth
- Overlapping teeth
- Malocclusion, or a bad bite (over or under)
If your child is having pain when chewing or biting down, this may be a sign they need to come and see us at McClaran Orthodontics. Dr. McClaran is an expert in treating kids and can ease any anxiety they may experience with a warm and inviting personality that calms even our most antsy patients.
If you are concerned that it is your sole responsibility to spot orthodontic issues, allow us to ease your worries. Your general dentist should usually be able to spot potential problems during your child’s regularly scheduled cleanings and checkups. We want to empower you to reach out to us first if you have any personal concerns about your child’s oral health.
What to Expect When Getting Braces for Kids
In order for us to make knowledgeable suggestions and make accurate assessments of your child’s needs, most kids will first begin in an observation period. During this observation period, Dr. McClaran will monitor how your child’s face and teeth develop over time. We don’t want to rush treatment, so it’s critical to take this time to plan for future needs for corrective measures. This observation period is complementary and considered to be a part of the treatment process.
When it comes time for the actual treatment to begin, your child may be fitted with something called Phase I braces. These braces consist of a few brackets on their front teeth to make room for their permanent teeth. These braces can be used to correct issues such as crossbite or other mouth and jaw issues. This treatment is typically followed by a full set of braces once the child is ready for them. Phase I braces are not always necessary, and Dr. McClaran will only recommend this treatment if she believes it is a necessary step for their oral health.
Once your child is ready for full braces, the process is quite simple. Metal or ceramic brackets are placed on their teeth and connected by thin metal wires. The wires and brackets are bound by plastic rubber bands. These bands can be changed by your child’s preference to whatever color they prefer. This allows your child to show a little bit of their personality, even in orthodontic treatment.
After the braces are put on, it’s important that they are kept clean. On top of brushing twice a day and the regular flossing, we suggest spot-checking to make sure there isn’t any food debris stuck behind brackets. It can be easy for food to hide, so it’s important to take a little extra precaution to maintain their oral health and keep their progress steady.
The Cost of Braces
The cost of braces depends on how long your child will need to wear them. This can vary based on the extent of the issues being fixed and how well they take care of the appliance. Braces are an investment in oral health and beautiful smiles, and we want your child to look in the mirror and see a smile they love. For this reason, we work hard to partner with your insurance providers and design flexible finance plans made with your needs in mind. The McClaran team wants to help mitigate any out-of-pocket costs that accompany treatment so that you can give your child a beautiful smile without breaking the bank.