Braces for Children: Here’s What You Need to Know

While it is absolutely true that traditional braces themselves have changed dramatically over the decades, the concept at the heart of it all – and the key to their success – has remained unchanged.

When a child gets braces, a series of small metal brackets are affixed to the front part of his or her teeth. A wire then connects those brackets together. The strength of the wire gently “nudges” the teeth into the desired position over time, thus allowing that patient to enjoy the perfect smile they have always wanted for themselves.

Generally speaking, it is always a good idea to get an orthodontic evaluation for your child right around the time he or she reaches seven years old. By this point, their jaw will be developed enough to the point where trained professionals can “see” what type of potential issues, if any, that you might be dealing with in the future. Making the decision to actually get those braces is obviously one that will vary depending on the patient. The severity of the issue you are trying to correct, along with the cause of something like a misalignment, will obviously play an important role in making that decision.

Reasons For Early Treatment

When most people think about the reasons for traditional braces, they think about teeth that are “crooked” or just considered anything less than perfect. While adults (and even kids) do get braces for aesthetic reasons, they are also a terrific way to correct a number of other issues as well.

These other issues can include but are certainly not limited to ones such as:

  • A severe crossbite. In this situation, a child could have one or more teeth that are either too close to the cheek or too close to the tongue when compared to the corresponding tooth on the opposite arch.
  • Severe crowding, which is a situation where the child’s teeth are too close together. This can lead to a wide range of problems down the road, including problems with chewing.
  • Excessive spacing, which is when gaps exist between the teeth.
  • An underbite, which is when the lower teeth stick out farther than the upper teeth when the mouth is closed.
  • An overbite, which is the opposite of an underbite and is when the upper teeth move out farther than the lower teeth when biting.

Obviously, the severity of the issue in question will impact how long the child will be expected to wear braces. Certain types of issues just take a little longer to correct than others, and there simply is nothing to be done about that.

Having said that, most kids wear braces for between one and two years on average.

Types of Braces Available for Kids

There are also a few different types of braces available for you to choose from depending on your needs. Two of the most popular include:

  • Traditional metal braces, which are the ones that most people are familiar with. These are made from a high-grade stainless steel.
  • Ceramic braces, which operate very much like metal braces only the brackets themselves are made from a white ceramic material (hence the name). Because of this, their appearance is far more discreet than traditional metal braces.

If you are having a hard time deciding which option is right for your child, don’t worry.  Dr. Knecht will go over everything with you during your appointment and advise you of your options.  In this way, you will have all the information necessary to make the best decision possible going forward.