Orthodontics refers to the treatment of dental irregularities including alignment of the teeth and jaws. In addition to straightening the teeth, orthodontics for kids are treatment options that can improve chewing function, make it easier to clean your teeth, and suppress symptoms of TMJ.
We hope to make the decision to start orthodontics on your child a breeze and answer some frequently asked questions. The need for treatment is very different for each child and the process can vary.
When will my child need braces?
Pediatric, or kids, orthodontics is generally started when the child has lost most, or all their primary (baby) teeth and their permanent (adult) teeth have erupted. This is generally between the ages of 8 and 14 years old.
Depending on your child’s individual needs, braces may be started earlier to help move teeth into their proper position as they come in and align the bite (this is called Phase I orthodontics). According to the American Association of Orthodontics, your child’s first orthodontic consultation should be no later than age 7 to ensure that the teeth and bite are developing properly.
What does the orthodontics for kids process look like?
After the orthodontist confirms that your child needs braces, they will then need to visit their general dentist to obtain a “cavity clearance.” This clearance involves checking the health of the teeth, gums, and surrounding bone to ensure they are in great condition for orthodontics. After obtaining this clearance, your child is ready for their “bonding” appointment.
The bonding appointment is when the braces are placed on the teeth. To begin, a small bracket is placed on each tooth using specialized dental cement. A wire is then threaded through each bracket and held in place by small colored bands. In some cases, specialized chains may be placed on the wire to help with crowding, and rubber bands may be used to move the bite.
Every 6-8 weeks, your child will visit their orthodontist for adjustments. During this time, the colored bands and wires will be removed, and small changes will be made. During these visits, your child can select new colors for their bands. Some mild discomfort is expected following adjustment appointments as new movements are being initiated at this time.
Can my child get clear aligners?
As more companies are creating aligners for younger children, many families are asking if clear aligners are right for their children. While clear aligners are more aesthetically pleasing to some, there are a lot of considerations to make when asking if aligners are right for your teen. First and foremost, our Risas orthodontists recommend that your teen have all their permanent teeth erupted, including their molars, which usually happens around the age of 12.
Clear aligners are removable and require a lot of responsibility and compliance. Some questions you may want to ask while considering if your teen is a good candidate are: Does your teen demonstrate responsible behavior such as maintaining high grades and keeping a clean bedroom? Does your teen have excellent oral and overall hygiene? Does your teen do well with increased responsibility? If you answered yes to these questions, your teen may be a good candidate for aligners.
Beyond having to wear the aligners for 21 hours per day, the cost of aligners is also higher than that of the traditional brace. It is important to remember that not everyone is a candidate for aligners and only an orthodontist can determine the right treatment plan.
Is it better to wait until kids are older?
The appropriate time to start orthodontic treatment varies from child to child. In some cases, braces will need to be started before all the permanent teeth are in. In other cases, your orthodontist will want to wait until all but the wisdom teeth are in. It is important to meet with your orthodontist at or before the age of 7 to determine the best time to start orthodontics on your child.
Can my child pick the color of their braces?
Yes! Your child can choose from over 2 dozen different colors when they go in for their adjustments. We often see different variations for holidays, birthdays, school spirit, and other special occasions. The possibilities are endless and your Risas Dental teammates and ortho assistants are happy to help your child pick a color that is right for them each time.
At Risas Dental, we make the orthodontic process fun and easy for kids. Schedule their orthodontic consultation today https://risasdental.com/book-an-appointment/