If you’ve just been told that your child needs dental braces, you might have a lot of questions. Questions like – How’s your child going to feel? Why do they need braces in the first place? And how much do they cost? In this post, we’re going to answer those questions and more besides, as we discuss everything you need to know about braces for kids.
Firstly, why kids need braces
Generally speaking, your child should have a dental check-up with an orthodontist around the age of 7. This is normal practice and in most cases your regular dentist will know if your child may benefit from seeing one. Some indications include:
- Irregular, late or early loss of primary (baby teeth)
- Teeth that meet abnormally or not at all
- Teeth and jaw which is out of proportion with the rest of the face
- Overcrowded teeth
- Inherited dental problems (if you or a family member has had braces or needs braces, chances are your kids might too)
In addition, you may also notice some signs in your child’s behaviour that dental braces may be needed including:
- Thumb or finger sucking
- Mouth breathing
- Difficulty in chewing or biting
By addressing these problems early in life it should prevent further (and costlier) teeth problems later on down the line. Oh, and don’t worry if you think that your child might be an ‘odd one out’ or are ‘unlucky’ with their teeth. According to one US-based survey by the American Association of Orthodontics, a little under 75% of kids need dental braces.
How is your child likely to feel?
In the last ten years attitudes have definitely shifted towards dental braces and the Australian Society of Orthodontists state that 7 out of every 10 children react in a positive way when told that they need orthodontic treatment. Nowadays many orthodontists see children not because they’ve been referred by their general dentist, but because they ‘want’ to wear braces. Moreover, modern, dental braces are not only smaller and more comfortable, but they can also be accessorised with colour which children love. You can even have glow-in-the-dark options. It seems that in 2019 at least, kids dental braces are cool!
So what types of dental braces are available? Let’s take a look…
These are the most common type. Typically, they’re also the most cost effective too.
The good news is that modern appliances of today are a long way from the large metal, clunky style braces of the past. Nowadays, metal dental braces are smaller, sleeker, lighter and, with the addition of customisable-coloured elastics, pretty trendy too. They offer effective teeth straightening for a wide variety of dental problems and are usually worn for between 18 and 24 months.
Ceramic braces for kids
These fixed braces function in the same way as the metal ones except they come with a clear tooth material making them less noticeable. They’re a great choice for kids who feel self-conscious about the thought of wearing metal-style dental braces.
Like metal braces, the ceramic variety is usually worn for between 18 and 24 months and can correct a wide variety of dental issues. However, because of the materials involved they usually cost more too!
You’ll often hear them referred to as ‘incognito braces’ Why? Because any brackets and wires are worn behind the teeth and not attached to the front. Naturally, they’re as discreet as bracket and wire style braces get and again, can be used to treat a wide variety of dental problems.
Typically though, treatment tends to take longer, than with those dental braces attached to the front of the teeth. More often than not they’re also more expensive and aren’t really suitable for children with smaller teeth.
It wasn’t long ago that clear aligners were solely for the use of adults, but now children from the age of 11 can wear them using ‘teen’ versions. Nowadays clear aligners are all the rage! They do away with ‘bracket and wire style’ fixing altogether in favour of a series of clear removable aligners. These are worn over the teeth just like an invisible mouth guard and are designed to be taken out when eating and drinking.
Clear aligners are better for mild to medium tooth alignment problems but are one of the costlier appliances. In addition, for best effect, they need to be worn for around 22 hours a day. However even with a wear indicator, kids really do need to buy into the clear aligner ethos, otherwise, treatment will take a lot longer or not work at all.
What about after dental braces treatment has finished?
So, treatment has ended, and now it’s time for your child to finally remove their dental braces or aligners for the big reveal. But wait! This isn’t the end of the treatment, Instead, they’ll be issued with a retainer.
Wearing a retainer
Once your child has finished their dental braces treatment they’ll need to wear a retainer. This is to stop teeth from drifting back into their old position and undoing all of that great work. There are two types – One that looks like a clear mouthguard and the other has an acrylic base with metal wires that clip around the teeth.
Retainers are usually worn for around 12 months after orthodontic treatment to ensure the teeth stay in place. During the first few months it’s often recommended that your child wears their retainer full time (at least every night) then after that, it can be worn less. your dentist will give you a better idea of timescales and frequency as each case is different. The cost of a retainer in Australia is around $500 – some more, some less.
So there you have it, everything you want to know about kids dental braces, types and cost! If you’d like to find out more about dental braces for your child, or want to enquire about a check-up, talk to Dr Sejal Rai at Dentistry-on-Solent. With her brand of personalised, sensitive dentistry, your child is in good hands. Call now on 02 9158 6137 to make an appointment.