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What You Should Know Before Your Child Gets Braces

By Jessa McClure
By Jessa McClure

Cute Girl With Dental Braces. Having metal wires and brackets strapped to your teeth during an already insecure time of life can be daunting for many kids who get braces. But there are ways to make the transition to orthodontics smoother and less stress-inducing.

1. Choose the Right Orthodontist
Creating an environment that will make your child feel comfortable starts with choosing the right orthodontist. Ask friends and family about their experiences with local orthodontists and who they recommend. Make a list of these potential doctors and take the time to visit each office and interview each provider. It is also a good idea to observe the office environment. Oralb.com suggests asking yourself if the office staff is attentive and flexible with scheduling.

Click here for a list of orthodontists in your area.

2. Know When Your Child is Ready
The American Academy of Orthodontics suggests that every child see an orthodontist by the age of seven. Your child might not be ready for a full mouth of braces at this time, but their mouth might need some pre-braces preparation. This could mean fitting them for a palette expander or a space maintainer.

3. Choose the Right Treatment for Your Child
While braces are typically metal and worn on the front of the teeth, there are several different treatment options. Finding the right one for your child and your budget is the best way to ensure a positive orthodontic experience.

  • Metal Braces – the most common type of braces. They are the least expensive option and offer kids the chance to wear colored bands. However, they are the most noticeable of the treatment options.

  • Ceramic Braces – this type of orthodontic treatment uses clear, ceramic brackets and metal wires. They are less noticeable than metal braces, but can stain easily with dark liquids like tea or soda.

  • Lingual Braces – this option uses metal brackets and wires, but they are placed on the inside of the mouth. While they are less conspicuous than traditional braces, they are more expensive, more uncomfortable, and more difficult to clean. And they aren't recommended for severe cases.

  • Invisalign – this option is attractive because it doesn't require metal brackets or wires at all. This method straightens teeth with clear, plastic mouth guard-type aligners that are replaced every few weeks. Patients can eat or drink whatever they want. However, Invisalign is only recommended for teens and adults and less-severe cases.

4. Go For a Consultation
Megan Ramirez, from Braces by Dr. Lisa Kerns, said consultations are scheduled to ensure the patient and their parent knows what to expect throughout the orthodontic experience.

During an initial consultation the child's teeth will be X-rayed, evaluated and photographed. The child may also be fitted for an appliance like a palette expander or a space maintainer. The orthodontist will answer any questions the patient and his or her parent might have, and discuss payment options.

5. Prepare Your Child
Braces are a big commitment, so you want your child to know that they will have to do their part to keep them clean and taken care of. They will also no longer be able to eat gooey or sticky foods like caramel, taffy or gummy bears, or crunchy foods like nuts or popcorn.

Along with talking to your child about the dos and don'ts of braces up-keep, you might also want to treat them to a "Pre-Braces Party," where can eat all of the foods they will be giving up for the duration of their orthodontic experience. Back To Top

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