Has your child’s dentist recently mentioned that it might be time for your kid to see an orthodontist? Have they brought up the dreaded B-word: Braces? If so, you’ve probably got a lot of questions and maybe some anxiety. After all, orthodontic work can be expensive.
If you’re asking yourself things like when should my child see the orthodontist for the first time and what’s the best age for braces and, most importantly, how can I afford this? Fear not. Read on to find out everything you need to know about getting braces for your kid.
When Should My Child Have Their First Orthodontic Appointment?
A child’s first orthodontic appointment should happen earlier than you might think. According to the experts, your child should have their first orthodontic appointment by the time they’re seven years old.
Why should your child see the orthodontist so young? Because it allows the orthodontist to assess your child’s dental situation early. This helps them decide if preventative treatments may help. These preventative treatments are called interceptive treatments. They can address issues like overbite and dental crowding. Addressing these issues early may help prevent the need for more intensive treatments later.
Most orthodontic treatment is performed when your child has lost all their baby teeth, and their adult teeth have grown in. But that doesn’t mean you should wait for your child’s adult teeth to fully come in before you go to the orthodontist. Some interceptive treatments can be done while your child still has their baby teeth. So, getting your child into the orthodontist early is always a good idea.
What Happens at My Child’s First Orthodontic Appointment?
Often, your child’s regular dentist will be the first one to notice an issue that may require orthodontic treatment. They can recommend an orthodontist for your child’s first visit.
What exactly will happen at this first visit? First, the orthodontist will perform a comprehensive dental exam so they can see what’s going on in your child’s mouth. Once the exam is complete, they will take photographs and X-rays of your child’s teeth, mouth, and jaw. Often this imaging helps them identify issues that cannot be seen during a regular exam.
They will also take impressions of your child’s teeth if they decide that treatments might be necessary. These molds will be used to form any dental devices your child might need. They will also serve as a reference point for what your child’s teeth looked like before any interventions.
Once your child’s orthodontic needs have been thoroughly assessed, the orthodontist will explain the recommended course of treatment. They will carefully explain all of the interventions they want to try. This includes explaining and showing you and your child any dental devices they recommend as part of treatment.
If your child is still young enough for interceptive treatments, the recommended treatment will likely not include braces quite yet. The orthodontist will likely opt for the use of other dental devices first.
Your orthodontist will let you know when to schedule the next appointment if you decide to pursue treatment.
What’s the Best Age for Braces?
If your orthodontist notices potential issues, they may recommend earlier intervention to prevent problems with breathing, sleep, and speech development.
These earlier interventions usually include treatments other than braces. A pallet expander is a common treatment used for children whose jaws aren’t ideally developing. Retainers and mouthguards may also be used to help correct development issues. They can also be used to break children of bad habits, like thumb sucking, that can misalign teeth and interfere with proper development. Sometimes these treatments may prevent the need for braces.
The best age for braces also depends on the specific issue or issues that the braces are being used to correct. If your child has an overbite or severe crowding, waiting until they are older, is often the best course of action. Sometimes these issues correct themselves when jaw development is complete, and all adult teeth have come in.
The bottom line is the best age for your child to get braces depends on your child’s dental development, and the issues that need to be resolved. Regular orthodontic appointments ensure that your child gets the treatment they need before braces become necessary. Regular appointments also ensure that your child’s orthodontist can develop a treatment plan that fits your child’s specific needs. This plan may or may not include braces.
What If My Child Does Need Braces?
If your orthodontist does recommend braces, they will go over all the options with you and your child. Back when you were young, the only braces available were metal braces. They were clunky, noticeable, and uncomfortable.
But fear not! Your child doesn’t have to go through the same pain and embarrassment you did when you got braces. These days there are more options for braces than ever before. Most of them aren’t even noticeable. Your orthodontist will go over all the options for braces with you and your child. They will help you choose the option that fits best with your child’s treatment plan, while also considering the aesthetic impact.
Your child’s orthodontist will also work with you to make sure your child’s braces are as affordable as possible. Lots of offices offer financing plans that ensure your child gets the treatment they need without breaking the bank. There are also organizations that can help you pay for your kid’s braces.
To learn more about the best age for braces, what kind of braces are available for your child, and what other orthodontic treatments your child might need, get in touch with an orthodontist today!
Braces Aren’t Cheap, but They’re Worth It
As we all know, kid’s aren’t cheap, but they’re worth it. The same goes for braces. If your dentist is recommending that your kid is at the best age for braces and that they head to the orthodontist’s office, it’s understandable that you’d be nervous about the cost. But just remember that this is all about your kid’s health. There’s always a way to make the finances work.
To get some more information about how to tweak those finances to add an extra expense, check out the money section of our site for our best tips and tricks!