Does your child need braces?

Does your child need braces?

Braces can be a scary thing to think about not only for a child but for a parent as well.  We’ve put together a list of common questions regarding when and why your child should visit an orthodontist.  Even if your child’s general dentist does not see any visible issues with your child’s teeth, it’s still a good idea for them to get an orthodontic exam by age 7 as a precaution and especially if they demonstrate any of the warning signs below. 

Q:  When should I take my child to the orthodontist?

A:  The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children be seen by an orthodontist by age 7.  The jaw is still developing at age 7 so even if there are no visible problems, an orthodontist may be able to catch a problem in its early stages. 

Q:  How will I know if my child needs to visit an orthodontist?

A:  If you notice any of the following issues with your child it’s recommended that they visit an orthodontist for an exam:  early or late loss of baby teeth, speech difficulties, mouth breathing, difficulty chewing or biting, facial imbalance, thumb or finger sucking, grinding or clenching of the teeth, biting the cheek or roof of the mouth, sound from the jaws, snoring or inability to comfortably close lips.

Q:  What will happen at my child’s first orthodontic visit?

A:  The orthodontist will perform a thorough oral examination and review the panoramic x-rays of your child’s teeth.  The x-rays help the orthodontist determine if there are any underlying issues with tooth development such as missing teeth, extra teeth or impacted teeth and if there will be enough room in the child’s mouth for all of their permanent teeth. 

Q:  Will my child need to start orthodontic treatment after visiting the orthodontist?

A:  Typically most children do not begin treatment until they are 9-14 years old.  Bite issues such as crossbites, severe crowding and protruding front teeth that cause the child to be teased or bullied can often be treated easier and more effectively while the child is still growing.  Most children will be monitored by the orthodontist until they have all of their permanent teeth, at which point orthodontic treatment may be recommended.

Q:  What types of orthodontic treatments are available if needed for my child?

A:  There are multiple types of orthodontic treatments available such as traditional metal braces, clear aligners like Invisalign® Teen and ceramic braces.  Most orthodontists offer a variety of treatment options at their practice and will discuss each of them with you and your child if treatment is necessary.

Q:  How much does orthodontic treatment cost?

A:  Most practices offer a complimentary initial exam and do not charge for visits to monitor the child’s growth and development.  The cost of orthodontic treatment varies depending on insurance, severity of the case, estimated length of treatment and the type of orthodontia used.  Although orthodontic treatment is performed over a period of years, the investment in your child’s smile will last them a lifetime.