Should My Child Wear Braces? 5 FAQs on Teeth Straightening for Kids
All parents want only the best for their children.
This includes making sure their kids have a healthy and beautiful set of teeth. To achieve this goal, most parents won’t hesitate about investing in orthodontic treatments for children that are designed to help them have good oral health and a great smile to boot.
Orthodontic Treatments for Children
The most common children’s orthodontic treatments parents invest in are ones that will straighten their kids’ teeth effectively.
Dentists usually recommend teeth straightening treatments to parents whose children have:
- Crowded teeth
- Malocclusions (bad or incorrect bite)
- Protruding teeth
- Crooked teeth
- Gaps or spaces between teeth
These dental issues can pose several problems to young kids.
When the upper and lower jaws of a child are not aligned, he or she won’t have a properly functioning bite. Kids who have crowded, crooked or protruding teeth also tend to feel embarrassed about their smile and, as a result, they can miss out on opportunities to meet and make new friends or even to shine in school.
Getting Your Teeth Straightening Facts Straight
Teeth straightening treatments, though, are not the most affordable dental solutions or procedures. They are not the easiest dental treatments for kids to undergo as well. Because of these factors, many parents and children choose not to get an orthodontic treatment or to delay it indefinitely.
Knowing the right facts about orthodontic treatments will help you make a smarter decision regarding any procedure or option the dentist recommends for your children.
Our list of FAQs below may just be the thing you need to get some facts straight about teeth straightening treatments:
1. At what age should a child get orthodontic treatment?
The right time for children to get braces will depend on three factors: the number of permanent teeth the child has, the orthodontic issue, and the child himself or herself.
Most orthodontists would recommend kids to get braces when they are between 10 and 14 years old. This is because most children already have all their permanent teeth out between these ages. In addition, at this stage, a child’s head and mouth are still growing and, as such, the teeth are more adaptive to change which will make the process easier.
In case the dental problem needs to be corrected immediately and your child is below 10, the orthodontist and paediatric dentist will have to work together to choose a treatment that would work best for your little one.
2. What are the usual causes of orthodontic issues in children?
The usual orthodontic problems can be caused by one or a combination of the following:
- Hereditary factors such as large and extra teeth and small jaws
- Premature loss of baby teeth (this causes teeth to drift and move)
- A poor breathing airway which is caused by enlarged adenoids or tonsils
- Certain oral habits such as thumb sucking and frequent tongue thrusting
3. Why are metal braces typically recommended for kids?
Metal braces are the most popular teeth straightening appliances recommended for children since they are the most effective in fixing complex orthodontic problems such as crooked teeth and bite problems.
In addition, traditional metal braces are less expensive than newer types of orthodontic treatments. They are also more durable.
Lastly, kids will have fun selecting the coloured bands for their braces to express their personality or preferences.
4. Aside from metal braces, what are the other possible teeth straightening treatments?
There are other orthodontic treatments you can choose from which can straighten out your child’s teeth and smile. These include:
Invisalign aligners are called invisible braces since they are clear and do not have any metal wires or brackets. They are made of clear trays which are customised to perfectly fit over the child’s teeth. The trays gradually move the teeth over the course of treatment.
These invisible aligners are also removable so your child can take them out before eating or when playing sports.
A dental headgear is worn around the head and face to correct teeth and jaw alignment problems. With this treatment, the headgear places pressure on the child’s upper teeth and jaw to move both the jaw and teeth into position at the same time.
It is not the most discreet or appealing dental appliance but it is effective and your child will only have to wear it at night.
Retainers can also move a child’s teeth or change the jaw position. They can either be fixed or removable.
Retainers are often worn after braces have been removed. However, they can also be used to fix teeth alignment issues that are not as severe or complex. For kids, it is best to get them fixed retainers since they can easily lose removable ones.
5. How long does it take for teeth straightening treatments to work?
The length of treatment will depend on the severity of the crowding, bite issue, or space between the teeth.
But in general, kids will have to wear metal braces for six months to two years before the teeth shift into position. They will also have to wear retainers for at least year or for the same duration they had their braces on.
The treatment duration for Invisalign is relatively faster since the teeth can be corrected within a year to eighteen months. However, it is important that your child wears the aligners for at least 22 hours every day for the treatment to work.
Your child’s dentist or orthodontist will regularly check his or her teeth to see if there is a need to extend treatment as well.
As a parent, you have to know that dental experts recommend taking children to their first orthodontic appointment when they are seven years old or once you see any signs of orthodontic problems.
If your child is already seven and he or she still hasn’t seen an orthodontist, find one now and schedule an appointment. You can also have your child undergo a comprehensive dental examination so that a paediatric dentist can evaluate his or her overall oral health.
If you want your child to see one of our orthodontic specialists, visit our Contact Us page to schedule an appointment today.