The tooth fairy has been and gone, your child’s ‘dollarbucks’ have been spent, and Christmas finally delivered on those ‘two front teeth’.
So what do you do now if those two front teeth are a little (or a lot) misaligned, or your child is showing other signs (overcrowding, gaps, underbite, overbite etc) of potentially needing braces, when they’re older?
In this article we discuss children’s braces and how early they can get them, why you should consider early orthodontic treatment, the types of kids braces, the suitability of Invisalign, and the costs. There’s a lot to cover so let’s get started!
Kids’ braces, or more broadly, ‘early intervention orthodontics’ is a proactive and responsible approach to significantly change, minimise, and in many cases eliminate the need for more serious orthodontics for your child later on in their teenage years or adulthood.
The Australian Society of Orthodontists encourage parents to visit an orthodontist when their child is aged seven to assess the need and/or begin planning interceptive treatment, and naturally so does our Dr Ana Machado, who has practised Orthodontics for more than 10 years in Brazil. Similarly, it’s recommended that children’s braces usually are placed from age 10 upwards.
And while Dr Ana concedes that teeth can be straightened at any age, the financial costs, length and intensity of treatment (e.g permanent removal of adult teeth) can be minimised if early orthodontic intervention takes place.
Plus, straight teeth are healthy teeth - allowing your child and later your adult child, not only an attractive smile but optimum oral hygiene. This is because straight teeth make it easier for proper teeth cleaning, and therefore for preventing potential for gum disease, bad breath, and tooth decay.
Also FYI: the chunky metal braces of yesteryear have been significantly improved upon - the types of braces available now are either more ‘fun’ or more subtle.
Sometimes the first step before (or instead of) braces is a ‘palatal’ expander, which is fitted in the child’s mouth, and used to stretch teeth that are overcrowded (including baby teeth), or to prevent the likelihood of teeth overcrowding.
If however your child is requiring early intervention braces - these are the types of braces kids are typically recommended.
Traditional braces, known for their efficacy in straightening overcrowded teeth, and for their comparative affordability, can be ‘fun’ for kids, by changing the colours of the attached rubber bands. Children will often select their favourite team’s ‘colours’, sometimes they opt for school colours, or even make seasonal selections like Christmas (green and red) colours. These orthodontic braces can be slightly uncomfortable when tightened, however the reward of ‘pretty colours’ often proves a nice distraction.
For children who are a little self-conscious, ceramic braces might be the most appealing orthodontic treatment. Similar to metal braces, however colour-matched to their tooth colour for a subtler appearance, this more delicate option is all-but-invisible, but weaker, and therefore not as swift as its metal alternative. It’s also the more expensive treatment plan option.
The braces for children (and adults) are completely invisible, as they sit on the back/inner side of your child’s teeth, not the front. So - no one will know they have them. Whilst they are strong, speech might be affected due to their position, and they will take some time getting used to. They are also the most significant financial investment of the three.
These popular clear plastic aligners are generally not recommended for children as they require at least 22 hours per day wearing to be effective; can easily be misplaced after being removed for eating (think little lunch!), and are a high-cost investment. They are certainly not something you’d ever want to panic-comb through the ‘lost property box’ for, and are therefore better suited to more responsible teenagers and adults.
We firmly believe that all children deserve the opportunity to grow into straight, healthy and happy teeth, and early orthodontic intervention, paired with our accommodating payment plans is a smart, proactive approach to this.
To end, wanting a straighter smile for your child isn’t just about aesthetics. Straighter teeth mean happy teeth as they’re easier to clean, preventing gum disease, bad breath and tooth decay.
Investing in early orthodontic treatment for children now, can minimise and prevent poor dental health outcomes in the future.
New technology has changed a lot in our lives, from how we talk to each other to how we work and live. But it has also changed the way dental procedures, like getting a dental crown, are done. The latest technology in dentistry makes getting a crown easier and more effective, not to mention your crown may last longer too.