These days, seeing kid’s braces is pretty common. What used to be embarrassing is now the norm as parents would like their children to grow up with good-looking teeth. For many kids, getting their braces now becomes a rite of passage that tells them their teenage years are coming.
Many parents would let their kids have braces once all the permanent teeth are out. As much as possible, they plan to have the braces off before their kids enter high school where self-confidence really matters.
Getting work on your child’s teeth early also prevents a lot of dental issues from developing later on. So, getting braces for kids is actually an advantage. Braces straighten teeth effectively and the earlier you do it, the shorter the treatment time will be.
If you are considering getting braces for your children, you may have a lot of questions as a parent. In this article, we will provide you all the information you need to know when it comes to braces to help you make an informed and smart decision.
Why would kids need braces?
There are a lot of situations that braces can fix for your kid. It is simply not just to fix misaligned teeth or tooth gaps. Here is a list of situations that braces can fix.
- Misplaced, crowded, or blocked-out teeth
- Protruding teeth
- Extra teeth
- Losing baby teeth early or late
- Mouth breathing
- Teeth grinding or clenching
- Cheek biting or biting the roof of the mouth
- Thumb sucking and other bad oral habits
- Trouble biting or chewing
- Jaws that protrude, recess, shift or make sounds
- Speaking difficulties
- Facial imbalance
What is the right age for braces?
There is no fixed age when it comes to getting braces for kids. The orthodontist views each patient on a case-to-case basis since each patient has different dental situations and needs.
The American Academy of Orthodontists would recommend that you take your child to an orthodontist for assessment when they are seven years old. That age is enough for the orthodontist to determine if your child will be needing braces in the future or not.
Generally, orthodontists recommend that children should get braces when they are 12 years old. By then, all the primary teeth are out and they will be fixing the permanent teeth. However, there are cases when kids get braces as early as nine years old – but take note that the results may not be permanent since not all the permanent teeth have grown out at this point.
Although there is no specific age when it comes to when a child should get braces, it has been proven that people who had braces as kids get better adult teeth compared to those who only got braces during adulthood.
The only way to know if your kid can get braces is to go to an orthodontist and have a screening exam. The orthodontist can then confirm if the dental issue can be fixed with braces for kids.
Advantages of early orthodontic treatment for your child’s teeth
Getting braces for kids at an early age is not a waste of money. In fact, it does a lot of good even if your kid still has some baby teeth. Most issues are easier to address while the child’s face and jaw are still developing. Here are some of the advantages of wearing braces or getting early orthodontic treatment:
- Improve facial symmetry.
- Limits trauma when the front teeth are protruding.
- Create more room to limit the risk of teeth crowding.
- Give space for teeth that have not grown yet.
- Straighten teeth.
- Shorter treatment time because the teeth are easier to manipulate.
- Reduces the need for tooth removal and jaw surgery in the future.
- Corrects a bad bite that can lead to tooth decay, accidental chipping, gum disease, and speech impediments in the future.
What happens during the first orthodontist visit?
During the first check-up with the orthodontist, an orthodontist can easily spot out any problems involving teeth and jaw – even while baby teeth are still present.
Now if you have never been to an orthodontist before, do not feel intimidated. They are basically the same environment as a dentist’s office although you may find more serious tools in theirs.
You see, orthodontists are specialists. They have more years of experience than a dentist and braces are just one of their specialties. Orthodontics is a dental specialty that focuses on the prevention and correction of irregularities in the teeth, jaw, and bite. Orthodontists are also trained to deal with facial abnormalities caused by disorders of the jaw.
During the first exam, the orthodontist will examine your child’s teeth and your child’s jaw. The orthodontist will then observe how they bite and ask questions about any difficulty swallowing or any pain or discomfort when they chew food.
It is also likely that x-rays will be taken of your child’s mouth and teeth to see the position of the teeth clearly and to determine how many permanent teeth have already emerged.
The orthodontist may also make an impression on your child’s teeth. The impression will help determine what type of treatment options will be best for your child and when is the appropriate time to begin treatment.
Options available for kid braces
If your child needs braces, you have different treatment options to choose from. Unlike before, you can now make choices that impact the way your child will look with the braces on.
This is the most common type of braces because it is the traditional braces. They are available everywhere and are also the cheapest type of braces that you can get. Metal braces also are the strongest type of braces so you can expect a shorter treatment time.
Unfortunately, it has the metal mouth look that people usually are not fond of because of all the visible metal wires and metal brackets. Today though, traditional braces are not looking so traditional. children can choose colored rubber bands to add some personality to their braces. This makes the wire and rubber bands look better.
Ceramic braces function the same as metal braces only that they are less visible. This is because they are made out of ceramic material that can blend in with the color of your child’s teeth. Because of this advantage, it costs more than metal braces.
However, choosing ceramic braces means you have to constantly watch what your kid is eating. The ceramic material can get stained easily if you do not take good care of it.
This type of braces is more discrete since they will be installed behind the teeth. Therefore, they will be hidden from view and most people would not notice them. It is because of this that they cost more than metal and ceramic braces.
If your kid is totally self-conscious about their looks, Invisalign may be the best choice for you. Invisalign makes use of specially molded clear and removable aligners that will fit over the teeth like a mouthguard.
Take note though that this type of braces can only be used for mild to moderate cases of misalignment. Cases of severe misalignment can’t be treated with clear removable braces. In this case, your dentist will advise you to get other types of braces for your case.
How much do braces cost?
The total price of braces depends on numerous factors. Because of this, there is no set price for braces since this will depend on a case-to-case basis. This is the case for most orthodontic care treatments.
If you are looking for a general price range, braces can cost anywhere between $4000 and $7000, depending on several factors. Here are the common factors that greatly influence how much you get to pay for kids braces.
The severity of the case
How much work your child’s teeth needs will dictate how much you need to pay for braces. The more complex the dental issue, the more expensive it can get.
Type of braces
The type of braces will greatly dictate how much your total cost is. As you have learned from the section earlier, there are different types of braces available and each type can be more expensive than the other. Traditional braces are usually the cheapest type while Invisalign may be the most expensive type of braces.
How long your kid needs to wear braces will also affect your overall cost. The longer the treatment time, the higher the total will be. Braces are usually worn for one to two years, depending on the severity of your case. There are cases when people have to wear them for almost 3 years.
Your location matters since the cost of living in your area have an influence on the price of goods and services. People living in urban areas have to pay more for products and services while those who are living in rural areas enjoy a lesser price. So if you live in the city, you can expect the cost for braces to be higher.
Damages and replacements
If your child damages the braces or in the case of Invisalign, loses their aligners, you will have to pay extra for replacements and repair. So it is important that your kid also knows how to take care of their braces.
Ways to pay for braces
If your child needed braces and you are wondering how will you pay for them, do not worry. There are several options that can help make orthodontic care and kids braces more affordable for you. Some of these can be combined are your choices when coming up with the most cost effective solution.
Many orthodontists will give a discount if you can pay for treatment upfront. Paying full one time means you are paying a lower price compared to doing monthly installments that have an interest.
Dental insurance plans
A lot of dental insurance plan considers braces as a cosmetic treatment because it is mostly done to improve the appearance of your teeth. However, you can still ask them to cover braces if you can prove that the braces are a medical necessity.
If you think your kids need braces, you should start looking for an insurance policy that has orthodontic coverage. If you have orthodontic coverage, braces will be covered.
The most you can get out of insurance is paid for half the cost of treatment. Some insurance providers will give you a specific amount for coverage. To know for sure, call up your dental insurance company to get a full breakdown of your coverage when it comes to braces.
Dental payment plan
If you do not have insurance coverage, you can ask your orthodontist if they have a payment plan available so that you can do monthly installments to cover your child’s braces. Most orthodontists are willing to come up with a payment plan that will stretch the total cost over months and they usually come with low-interest rates.
Loaning or credit companies
Another option to pay through monthly installments is to pay upfront with the help of loaning or credit companies. Then, you pay the company through monthly installments plus interest. Take note though that most of these companies would require you to undergo a credit check so if you have a bad credit score, this may not be the best option for you.
If your child’s dental issue is just mild, you can consider getting braces at a dental school. You will get treatment from an orthodontist in training, which will be supervised by a senior orthodontist.
Because the person doing the treatment is not yet an actual orthodontist, the total cost of treatment from dental schools will be cheaper.
Special dental programs
If you are having financial difficulties, you can apply for children’s health insurance program or special dental program that offer certain amounts or services for underprivileged children. They usually cover early treatment and straightening teeth treatments. You will have to demonstrate your financial need when you apply for these programs.
Kids Braces FAQs
What is the best type of braces for children?
Most orthodontists would suggest that you get traditional metal braces for kids – after all, they are at a phase in life when they are not yet so conscious about the way they look. The impact of wearing traditional braces will not be as big as having them during teenage years or adulthood.
The reason why is that you do not have to worry about how responsible or disciplined your child is when it comes to their braces. All you have to do is make sure that they continue with their good oral hygiene. The metal braces are also cost-effective, fast, and the most durable among all the other types of braces.
But if you think your kid is already conscious about the way they look, then the more expensive and less obvious types of braces are possible to get. But you have to make sure that they are mature enough to understand the responsibility involved in maintaining these types of braces.
Can my child get braces even with baby teeth?
Yes. In fact, traditional metal braces are still helpful even if your child still has his or her baby teeth in place. Early treatment can help correct the way their adult teeth will grow out. Plus, if you start treatment early, identifying any orthodontic issues at this stage will prevent you from spending more on dental treatment when your kids grow up.
What can a kid eat on the first day of getting braces?
The first day of having the braces installed will be a huge adjustment for your child. They will still have to get used to having it on their teeth. It is best to start out with soft foods like soft vegetables, soup or broth, pasta, yogurt, or pudding.
Will traditional metal braces change the face of my child?
Yes, braces have the capacity to change the shape of your child’s face. But this is a good chance. Since braces fix alignment issues whether it is in your teeth, bite, or jaw, the result is the same. Your child will have a more natural and well-balanced face.
Can my child sleep comfortably with braces?
Most kids are able to sleep well even with braces. There may be some discomfort during the first few weeks as your child adjusts to the feeling of having braces on.
If they are feeling discomfort, the best thing to do is to tell them to sleep on their back. Sleeping on their sides will cause the braces to rub against their cheek, which can be uncomfortable during the adjustment period.
Teeth say a lot about a person’s hygiene. Having bad or crooked teeth can also greatly affect a child’s self-confidence. If you want your child to grow up with a straight and beautiful smile, getting braces is an investment that will be worth it.
Getting braces for kids is a valuable move. It helps spot any oral health problems at a young age so that they can be addressed right away before it develops into something more serious when all the adult teeth are growing.