Most people will need braces at some point in their lives, and some may even require two separate rounds of braces to correct more serious orthodontic issues. It is recommended to bring your child to the orthodontist around age 7 for their first examination. By being proactive with orthodontics, your doctor will be able to nip certain problems in the bud before they become uncomfortable or harmful to your child’s health.
Benefits of Early Treatment
Though most people would say the only objective of braces is to straighten teeth, they are actually a bit misinformed. Yes, braces are great at giving us a beautiful smile to show off to the world, but they also do a lot of work behind the scenes. Braces are able to align the teeth and jaw so that the way we chew and speak does not cause us pain. Many people are born with bite misalignments or overcrowding that can lead to health problems in adulthood if not properly treated. An orthodontist is able to diagnose these issues early on before the bones of the jaw are fully developed. Starting treatment intervention at this time has shown much quicker and more effective results rather than starting in later years.
When you bring your child to the orthodontist for their first consultation, you can expect the doctor to take a look at your child’s teeth and take X-rays to determine the position of the jaw. If the orthodontist sees any problems, they will be able to explain your options moving forward and have time to answer all of your questions. If your child does not have any alignment or crowding issues, the orthodontist will ask you to return for periodic check-ups to monitor tooth development.
Are There Multiple Options for Braces?
There are a few options when it comes to braces based on what issues need to be addressed and your child’s lifestyle. With traditional braces, metal brackets are glued to each tooth and connected with metal wires. The pressure from the wire pulls the teeth and jaw to their proper position slowly over time. With traditional metal braces, your child will need to come to the office periodically to get their braces tightened and to monitor progress.
Clear or ceramic braces are similar to traditional braces but instead of metal brackets, they use ceramic. This material mimics the natural color of the teeth, making the braces less noticeable to others. Clear braces are a great option for children who may not want to draw so much attention to their braces.
Self-ligating braces look almost identical to traditional braces, but they use a different mechanism to apply pressure to the teeth. Instead of using elastics or metal ties around the brackets, self-ligating braces utilize a special type of bracket that independently tightens over time. This can make self-ligating braces a bit more comfortable than the traditional braces, and also can cut down on the number of visits to the orthodontist office since manual tightening is not needed.
Will Braces Impede My Child’s Lifestyle?
In general, braces will not severely impact your child’s life. There are certain changes you will need to make to keep your child’s braces working properly and to maintain good dental hygiene. First, it is important to avoid certain foods while wearing braces. Hard, sticky, or chewy foods tend to break or damage braces, leading to wires poking out or brackets getting dislodged. It is best to leave these foods for when your child gets their braces off, and save yourself from an emergency visit to the orthodontist.
Dental hygiene is always important to keep in mind, but braces do make brushing routines a bit more involved. The brackets of braces tend to attract plaque and buildup, so make sure to encourage your child to pay extra attention to their brushing and flossing. Your orthodontist will give you a special flosser that your child can use to really clean out all the nooks and crannies of their teeth and braces. Keeping up good dental hygiene practices means your child will not only have straighter teeth at the end of their treatment but healthy ones too!