One of the most important things to understand about traditional braces is that the types of issues they are designed to correct can occur at any age. So in a general sense, a patient is never “too young” or “too old” to explore this form of treatment to get that perfect smile they’ve always wanted.
Most experts agree that an ideal time for kids to get braces is between the ages of 10 and 14 years old. At this point, the head and the mouth are still growing – but they’re doing so in a way that allows the teeth to be far more conducive to straightening than they would at other ages. This can actually mean that treatment will be easier than when the patient reaches young adult or even adult status.
When Should My Child First See an Orthodontist?
For the most part, it’s a good idea for your child to see an orthodontist when they start to display any of the specific dental-related issues that braces are actually designed to correct. These include but are not limited to things like crowded teeth, crooked teeth, overbites, underbites, incorrect jaw position, various disorders of the jaw joints, and more.
How Do Braces Work?
Generally speaking, braces work by first attaching a series of small metal brackets to each tooth in a patient’s mouth. Those brackets are then connected together via metal wires (one for the top row and one for the bottom row) that hold everything in place.
The tensile strength of the wires is what applies pressure on the brackets, which is ultimately what moves the teeth into the desired position slowly over time. This is usually what the point of any trip to the orthodontist during treatment is. Not only do they want to make sure that everything is proceeding along exactly as it should be, but they’ll also need to periodically adjust the strength of those wires, too.
Can My Child Lead an Active Life with Braces?
The good news is that your child can absolutely continue to live an active lifestyle throughout their braces treatment – it’s just that they (and you) will need to keep a few key things in mind.
If your child plays sports, for example, they’re definitely going to want to wear a mouth guard or some other form of protection during play. This is not only to protect their teeth, but to protect the bracket and wire system that make up their braces.
It’s also worth noting that there are certain types of foods they’re definitely going to want to stay away from, including anything that is particularly sticky, chewy, or hard. This doesn’t necessarily tie into the “active” part of an “active lifestyle,” but it’s a lifestyle consideration all the same.
The Cost of Braces
It’s difficult to predict exactly how much braces will cost for your child, as the amount you’ll pay will ultimately be impacted by a wide array of different factors. The total length of treatment time will absolutely contribute to the cost, for example, as will the nature of the specific types of issues you’re trying to correct.
But don’t worry – your orthodontist will go over everything with you after your initial examination so that you’ll have a more complete and specific picture about the exact cost of treatment moving forward.