Let’s take a look at the facts: nearly 75% of all children and teens today have braces. Based off that statistic, there is a pretty high chance that your child may need them as well. So how do you know for sure if your child needs braces? We’re going to answer all the most commonly asked questions about braces so you can be fully prepared!
Why Do Kids Get Braces So Young Nowadays?
Today more kids than ever have braces, and they’re getting them younger and younger. So why do they need braces at such a young age anyway? Over the years orthodontists have been learning more and more about what braces can do when applied at a younger age. Early evaluation allows the orthodontist to detect any existing or potential issues sooner and allows them to give proper treatment earlier. As of 2019, The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children should see an orthodontist around their 7th birthday. At around ages 6/7 is when the six-year molars begin to erupt which are their first permanent teeth. When those teeth grow in your orthodontist will be to see the growth patterns and determine if there will be any issues.
What Causes Crooked Teeth?
A lot of times orthodontic issues are hereditary. If you, your partner, or your family has a history of crooked teeth your child most likely will most likely need braces. There are also some non-hereditary signs that mean your child may need braces which include:
- Irregular loss of baby teeth (losing them very early or very late)
- Mouth breathing
- Thumb/finger sucking
- Jaws that shift or make sounds
- Overbites or underbites
- Teeth that don’t meet normally or don’t meet at all
When Do Kids Need Braces?
As we mentioned before, your child should pay their first visit to the orthodontist around their 7th birthday, but they will most likely not get braces right then and there. Every child and every mouth is different. Your orthodontist may suggest putting off braces for a few years. The most common ages for braces are between 9 and 14 years old.
Braces vs. Invisalign
While Invisalign and other metal brace substitutes are great products for adults, they’re not suitable for children. Products like Invisalign require much more responsibility and attention than regular braces do. For example, you must take them out every time you eat, clean them daily, and since you can take them in and out you must have enough self-discipline to wear them as much as possible. Metal braces, on the other hand, are much more suitable for children because they require little to no day-to-day attention. There are some foods they will have to stay away from, and they will have to take regular trips to the orthodontist, but overall your child will become so used to their braces they won’t even notice them.
How to Prepare Your Child for Braces
Your child is most likely going to put up a fight about getting braces, but the important thing is to focus on the benefits. Here are some ways you can make your child’s experience a little better:
Stock up on snacks – Your child may experience a little discomfort the first few days after getting their braces so they should stick to soft foods. Since they might be feeling a little down, let them snack on some fun foods like mac and cheese, popsicles, and ice cream. The coldness from foods like popsicles and ice cream can also soothe the pain and soreness a little bit.
Let them know they’re not alone – As we mentioned before 75% of all kids get braces! If not a lot of their friends or classmates have them yet, you can assure them that many of them will sooner or later.
Make it fun – One thing that kids love about visiting the orthodontist is getting to pick out their elastics. The elastics are the little colored bands that go around every bracket, and whenever the braces get tightened your orthodontist will change them. It’s fun for kids to switch up the colors based on seasons, holidays, or whatever their favorite color is.
Focus on the benefits – Remind your child that the sooner they get braces, the sooner they’ll get them off and they will have a beautiful straight smile for life.
If you have any questions or unsure if your child is ready for the orthodontist give us a call at (781) 592-5919, or book an appointment online!