Although some people are afraid of getting braces, almost anyone who has had them can attest that they are incredibly helpful and beneficial in the long run. Not only do braces make a smile straight, healthy and bright, they also make the person wearing them so much happier. With braces comes a self esteem and self worth that is hard to come by sometimes and impossible to ignore.

Braces change lives, there is no doubt about that. In fact, most orthodontic procedures have the ability to alter someone’s life and make them feel so much better about themselves. Not only do they make people smile but they give them a reason to smile too.

But what sort of orthodontic work do young children need? Are braces ever necessary for a child who is 1 to 12 years old? When should you take your young son or daughter to visit the orthodontist for the first time? All of these questions have answers and all of them should be known.

Why Kids Need Braces

There are actually a wide number of reasons why kids need braces. Many people assume that an orthodontist won’t order braces unless the patient is in their teen years. But that’s not true, some children need braces, even before they are pre-teens.

What issues would require braces for kids? Tooth or jaw problems are sometimes the biggest troubles that will make an orthodontist recommend braces. This happens more often than you think with younger patients because it can happen when a baby tooth comes out too soon or an accident or bad habits caused misalignment and other issues. Some of these issues won’t even be visible to the naked eye. However, an orthodontist will easily be able to detect these problems and will want to find a solution as soon as possible. Sometimes the solution happens to be braces on your child.

A pediatric orthodonist might also recommend braces for kids because of common problems such as overcrowding, overlapping, malocclusion, an overbite or an underbite. All of these issues are ones that are more visible and they are the usual reasons why a parent schedules an appointment with an orthodontist. There are many solutions to these issues. Braces aren’t always the right approach. But it’s very important that a pediatric orthodontist is able to examine and evaluate the situation as soon as possible.

When Should Your Child Visit an Orthodontist

Even if you don’t think your young child needs braces, it is very important that you make sure they visit an orthodontist to make sure that everything is working like it should. As mentioned, some of the problems that plague mouths aren’t able to be noticed by the naked eye. The trained professional skills of a pediatric orthodontist are the only way to notice these troubles before they become even bigger and more pressing and dangerous.

The truth is that there isn’t a set age for a child’s first visit with an orthodontist. However, most professionals agree that a child should visit an orthodontist once their permanent teeth begin to come in, around the age of 7. This will ensure that the adult teeth are growing properly and that no underlying issues are going unchecked.

Different Types of Braces

If an orthodontist decides that your child does need braces, there are now many options for your family to choose from. In the past, there were only a few different types of braces but now the market is full of different options you can take.

While traditional custom-made braces still exist and are used by millions of patients a year, there are now different types of braces such as Invaslign. Do they make Invisalign for kids? They sure do and that is an appropriate choice that your orthodontist might recommend for your child.

But there are other approaches to pediatric orthodontic care too. Your doctor might prescribe other types of aligners or appliances to strengthen and straighten teeth and prevent any further problems. On occasion, an orthodontist might recommend that your child undergo some sort of corrective surgery to take care of any serious issues. The truth is that there are many different ways for an orthodontist to take care of the mouth of your child. 

How to Take Care of Braces

If your young child is given braces, it is very important that they take good care of them. If the braces aren’t well-maintained and looked after, they will soon fall into a state of disrepair and won’t actually assist in straightening a smile or solving a medical issue.

Brushing after meals is pivotal and must be done regularly. Daily flossing is also very important too. The orthodontist might give your child special flossers that are specifically made for patients with braces.

Regular dental cleanings and checkups are still very important when a young patient has braces. It is also important that the braces are checked regularly to make sure that no food debris is getting stuck in the braces for too long. Many sugary drinks and snacks should be avoided since they can lead to tooth decay and can only make situations worse.

If the braces undergo a break or disruption, your orthodontist will be able to assist with that immediately. Regular checkups with your orthodontist are a great idea, even if the braces seem to be performing perfectly.

Things to Remember for Young Children

When your child is 1 to 12, there are many good habits that you can teach them to keep their oral health in best shape.

  • Set Up Regular Check-Ups: Young children should see their dental team and orthodontist regularly to ensure that there are no underlying problems going unchecked. Setting this pattern early will provide a lifetime of great oral health.
  • At-Home Routine: Make sure your child brushes for two minutes, twice a day! There is nothing more important that making sure your child does this regularly.
  • Start Healthy Eating Habits: One of the best ways to keep a mouth healthy and happy is to treat it right with food. While everyone can enjoy sugar, it’s important that children don’t overindulge with snacks, soda, and other sugary treats.