Though most people think of teenagers when talking about braces, they are actually a common treatment for children as well! It is much easier and more efficient to treat orthodontic issues early on in life, which is why the American Association of Orthodontists recommends bringing your child in for a consultation by age 7. There are a number of reasons why a child may need to wear braces that you may not even notice as a parent, so feel free to contact Efros Orthodontics today and be proactive in giving your child a beautiful, healthy smile.
Benefits of Early Treatment
It is often thought that braces are only used to straighten teeth, but they are actually used to treat many orthodontic issues with both the teeth and the jaw. The goal of braces is to align the teeth and jaw so that the way we chew, speak, and breathe does not cause us pain. Many people are born with bite misalignments or overcrowding that can lead to health problems later on in life if not properly treated. An orthodontist is able to diagnose these issues early on, before the bones of the jaw are fully developed. Starting treatment intervention at this time has shown much quicker and more effective results rather than starting in later years.
When you bring your child to the orthodontist for their first consultation, you can expect the doctor to conduct an oral examination and take X-rays to determine the position of the jaw. X-rays will show how the jaw is developing, and the direction in which teeth are growing in. If the orthodontist detects any problems, they will be able to explain your options moving forward and have time to answer all of your questions. If your child does not have any alignment or crowding issues, you will be asked to return for periodic check-ups to monitor jaw and tooth development.
How Will Braces Affect My Child’s Lifestyle?
It is unlikely that braces will severely impact your child’s life. There are some small changes you will need to make in order to keep your child’s braces working properly and to maintain good dental hygiene. First, we recommend avoiding certain foods while wearing braces. Hard, sticky, or chewy foods have a tendency to break or damage braces, leading to wires poking out or brackets getting dislodged. It is best to leave these foods for when your child gets their braces off, and save yourself from an emergency visit to the orthodontist.
Dental hygiene is always important to keep in mind, but braces do make brushing routines a bit more complicated. The brackets of braces can act as a magnet for plaque and buildup, so make sure to remind your child to pay extra attention to their brushing and flossing. Your orthodontist will provide you with a special flosser that your child can use to deep clean all the nooks and crannies of their teeth and braces.
Are Braces Painful?
Braces should not be painful, but they sometimes cause discomfort or soreness. While wearing braces, your child will need to return to the practice every 4-6 weeks to tighten the wires and keep treatment moving along at an appropriate pace. After these tightenings, some children report feeling tenderness around the gums. This can be helped with a pain reliever and eating soft foods for the first day or two after a tightening.
Another point of discomfort is the rubbing of the brackets against the inner gums. We normally see this problem when children first get their braces put on and they are not used to the friction between brackets and gums. This can be fixed using dental wax provided by your orthodontist to cover up the metal brackets and instead leave a smooth surface that will not bother your child’s gums.
How Do I Know If My Child Needs Braces?
There are a number of telltale signs that your child is in need of braces treatment. If you sense that your child has a bite misalignment, meaning the top and bottom jaws do not fit together well, it is a good idea to bring them in for braces. Other reasons to pursue treatment with braces are overcrowding, meaning there is not enough room for teeth to grow in, or spacing which occurs when there is too much room between teeth. As always, the best way to be sure that your child is receiving the right treatment is to simply bring them in for a consultation. At Efros Orthodontics, we offer free consultations, so there really is no downside to playing it safe! Call today to set up an appointment and take the first step to your child’s dream smile.