Braces are often associated with awkward teenage years and embarrassing yearbook photos. The truth is, braces have evolved, and more people of all ages are embracing the opportunity to improve their smiles.
Teaching your little one how to brush their teeth can set them up for a healthy smile for years to come, but if you’re beginning to notice irregularities while they’re brushing back and forth, it may be time for a visit to the orthodontist’s office. After all, maintaining properly aligned teeth and a proper bite isn’t just about appearance. It’s a vital part of dental hygiene that encourages healthy biting, chewing, and even speech development.
Why Do Kids Need Braces?
Teeth and jaw misalignment in children may occur for various reasons. Thankfully, there are several signs to be on the lookout for when determining if your child needs braces:
Most children stop sucking their thumb between the ages of two and four years old. However, if your child exhibits finger sucking or other oral habits for longer, you may need to consider braces. The consistent pulling motion is notorious for pulling front teeth too far forward and causing crowding in the bottom teeth.
If you catch your kiddo grinding their teeth at night, it could be a sign of misalignment. Without proper correction, continued teeth grinding will not only lead to teeth damage, but jaw shifting as well.
Abnormal Loss Of Baby Teeth
Despite the fact that children are often eager to lose their baby teeth, there is a proper timeline that teeth should follow to avoid dental problems. Neighboring baby teeth could shift into the exposed gum area if baby teeth are lost too soon and misalignment could occur if they are lost too late.
Issues with chewing or biting could be a sign that your child suffers from misalignment. An exam can pinpoint whether the problem stems from overbite, underbite, or crossbite, and if the situation is causing impaired speech.
If the reasons above ring a bell, scheduling an orthodontist appointment will be your best course of action. Even if your child isn’t prone to tooth problems, the American Association of Orthodontics recommends that you bring them in for a visit by the age of seven. A preventative consultation is all it takes to keep them on the right track for a healthy smile.
What Is The Right Age For Braces?
Ideally, the recommended age for introducing braces is between 10 and 14 years old. While orthodontic treatment can be applied at practically any age, it helps to have braces installed while your child’s head and mouth are still growing. This age range also ensures that your child is old enough to take on the responsibility of maintaining braces properly by avoiding certain foods and keeping up with a healthy dental care regimen.
Benefits of Braces
Orthodontic treatment is about more than straightening teeth. From crowded teeth to overbites, braces can correct issues before they can affect your oral health and cause you pain. Braces can improve oral health to give you a healthy, beautiful smile. Even people with seemingly straight teeth can have other conditions that could affect their gums and jaws.
Modern orthodontic treatment looks a lot different than it did twenty years ago. Braces are less noticeable than ever, and some options are even “invisible.” These advancements have made wearing braces less of a stigma and more common than ever. Even adults are taking action and choosing braces to correct their smiles.
What To Expect At Your First Orthodontist Visit
Truth be told, the type of orthodontic treatment your child needs will depend on the severity of their symptoms. It’s best not to make assumptions about treatment plans based on what you spot with the naked eye. During your consultation visit, your orthodontist will be able to survey any misalignment and map out a specific timeline for your child to see optimal results. In addition to proposing a timeline, the orthodontist will provide information on the different kinds of braces that are available to help achieve your kiddo’s new look. The sooner your child sees the orthodontist, the closer they’ll be to a healthy, confident smile.
Types of Braces For Kids
What are the best types of braces for kids? Well, that depends on the kid! Braces aren’t what they used to be. Children have quite a few options when it comes to finding the right fit for their personality and lifestyle. While the end result is priority, it’s also important to consider how your child feels about the look of the braces, how easy they are to maintain, and how sturdy the braces are, especially in the case of children involved in contact sports.
Traditional Metal Braces
Traditional metal braces have come a long way over the years. Though they still consist of metal brackets attached to the teeth connected by metal wires, the brackets are smaller and lightweight. Your child can choose different colors to match their school, sports team, or special event.
Teeth are moved into alignment gradually with traditional metal braces. The wires connecting the brackets are replaced every three to ten weeks. This option gives your orthodontist more control over your child’s progression and changes are more noticeable earlier in the process.
If you choose traditional braces, you can expect the initial application to take one to two hours and this includes the cleaning and drying of your child’s teeth prior to application. Your child’s mouth will be a bit tender for up to a week after getting braces and for a few days after each adjustment, but it can generally be treated with over-the-counter pain medication.
Clear And Ceramic Braces
If you’re concerned about the aesthetics of traditional braces and looking for something lower profile, invisible ceramic and clear braces may be right for your child. They function exactly like metal braces, but the brackets are either tooth-colored or clear to blend with the teeth. Your child can expect much the same experience with clear and ceramic braces as they would have with traditional metal braces.
Removable teeth aligners, like Invisalign, are a relatively new option for straightening teeth. There are some significant differences between traditional braces and removable aligners. Removable aligners may not be appropriate for everyone, but they can be effective for many teens and adults.
Invisalign involves a series of clear trays that fit over the teeth. Detailed 3D imaging is done to create a series of trays custom for your child’s teeth. Each tray is worn for a week and then replaced with a new one. Orthodontic follow-ups are done every four to ten weeks for monitoring and to receive new trays.
When choosing Invisalign, your child can expect some minor discomfort the first day or so of a new tray. The trays need to be removed whenever your child eats or drinks and it’s critical that they brush their teeth and trays before wearing them. Trays need to be worn for at least 22 hours per day to be effective.
Lingual braces are an alternative that allows your child to have the benefits of traditional braces without the appearance of metal brackets and wires. The metal brackets are placed on the backs of the teeth, so they are not visible when smiling, talking, or eating. They are also beneficial for some activities like playing wind instruments and sports. However, lingual braces can be difficult to adjust to and are tougher to clean.
Orthodontic treatment can involve more than braces. Your orthodontist may prescribe an orthodontic appliance to help with your child’s treatment. These can include mouthguards for sports, palate expanders to make more room in the mouth, and elastics to help move the jaw for bite correction.
Typical Costs Of Braces For Kids
There’s not as much disparity between the types of braces and cost as you might think. While the overall costs of orthodontic treatment varies from patient to patient, there are some general price points that can help you determine what to expect with each type of braces.
Can you really put a price on a healthy smile? Whether you’re a parent at a consult with your teen or an adult hoping to make some long-desired corrections, pricing should be a factor in your decision.
Sports, musical instruments, school supplies, and new clothes and shoes for every growth spurt are probably already eating away at your family budget. So, when your dentist recommends a consult with an orthodontist, you’re first instinct is probably how it will impact your already tight budget. Just how much do braces cost for kids? Depending on the amount of work your child needs, you could be looking at anywhere from $3,000 to $7,000 for orthodontic treatment.
If you’re exploring orthodontic treatment options for yourself, you’re probably wondering how much do braces cost for adults? The overall cost will generally be similar to that of a child or teen, but it will also depend on what type of braces you choose and if your insurance will help cover some of the cost as an adult.
If this seems daunting, don’t give up because there are options for affordable braces and the long-term benefits will make your investment well worthwhile.
- Traditional braces usually cost between $1800 and $5500.
- Ceramic braces range between $4000 and $8000.
- Invisalign braces average between $4200 and $5500.
- Lingual braces cost between $8000 and $10,000.
You have many options when it comes to paying for braces, and in the end, the cost is worth it to give your child a smile that will last their lifetime. If you have dental insurance, it may cover some of the cost of braces. For those who have flexible spending accounts (FSA), braces are an excellent use for those funds. Many orthodontists also have dental savings plans that can help defray the cost of treatment and payment plans to spread the cost out over a period of time.
Paying for Braces Without Breaking Your Budget
Even if you don’t have the extra cash laying around to pay for your braces outright, there are options to make braces affordable. From installment plans to flexible spending accounts, there are definitely options for people of all ages to pay for braces.
- How much do braces cost with insurance? Though many insurance plans don’t cover braces if you’re over 18, they do tend to cover orthodontic treatment for kids and teens. Insurance can cover around half of the cost though there is usually a lifetime maximum so check with your provider to be sure.
- If you don’t have insurance, or your insurance doesn’t cover orthodontics, look for an orthodontist who has a dental savings plan that can lower your costs.
- Flexible spending accounts (FSA) are excellent options for using some of that money over the course of a year.
- Braces payment plans are available through many orthodontists to spread your overall cost over several months instead of all at once.
- Use a credit card to pay it all up front or make a down payment and then pay the rest using a payment plan. If you have a credit card that offers cash back or earns points towards a goal, you will have some extra perks.
- Check into orthodontic schools that may offer you a lower cost in exchange for students to learn the process. Keep in mind that all of the treatment you’d receive would be supervised.
How To Care For Braces At Home
Much to the dismay of adolescents far and wide, braces aren’t just set it and forget it. Opting out of proper care can lead to further damage, including cavities, gum disease, trapped bacteria, and discoloration. Once your child’s braces have been installed, our friendly staff can help provide you with toothpaste, floss, and other tools to help keep their teeth clean and healthy.
When comes to keeping teeth in tip-top shape with braces, there are two major rules to follow:
- Brush your teeth after every meal, for at least two minutes.
- Floss. Every. Day.
Brushing and flossing is an essential part of any oral hygiene regimen, however, it is especially important with braces, given that the extra wire and brackets make exceptional hiding places for food particles and bacteria. An interproximal brush is a highly recommended tool for braces wearers to help get into those tighter areas that are harder to reach with brushing and flossing alone.
If you’re looking for affordable braces, Jefferson Dental & Orthodontics can help. We offer different types of braces including traditional metal braces and Invisalign. Find the office nearest you and schedule a free orthodontic consultation!