You try to protect your child from physical injuries like broken bones and skinned knees, but have you considered how to provide for their oral care to avoid dental and orthodontic issues as adults? Early visits to an orthodontist can save your child (and you!) money and time down the road, not to mention avoid some unwanted dental issues such as overbites, crossbites and crooked teeth.
When Should I Bring My Child To The Orthodontist?
It is best to plan for your child to see an orthodontist for the first time around age seven, since most of their baby teeth will be lost, and several of their adult teeth will have emerged. By that time, an orthodontist will have better luck determining if your child’s teeth will require braces, or other orthodontic intervention. While age seven is recommended for their first orthodontic visit to plan for the future, in most cases, your child won’t begin to regularly see an orthodontist or receive treatment until most, if not all, of their permanent teeth have emerged.
How Long Will My Child Wear Braces?
Orthodontic treatment is specific to each child and will depend on the placement and growth of your child’s teeth. For many patients needing medium level corrections, treatment can be completed in as little as 12-18 months, if your child is diligent about sticking to their orthodontist’s advice.
For more complex needs, extreme crossbite, overbite or underbite, treatment can take up to 36 months. Your orthodontist will be able to provide an estimate of how long treatment could take from beginning to end after one to two appointments.
Are Kids’ Braces Painful?
Braces can be unpleasant to begin with, no matter whether they are going into a kid’s mouth or an adult’s. Your child might be nervous, anxious or stressed at the thought of a foreign object in their mouth, particularly if they are associating braces with a painful experience. Talking to your child about the transition their teeth will go through and reassuring them that the pain will pass can help to ease worries before the braces are put on.
While the first few days up to two weeks can be uncomfortable and may be painful, there are a few remedies to aid with this discomfort until your child’s mouth has adjusted to the pressure:
- Enjoy soup and soft food, especially the first few days
- Ice cream, frozen yogurt or popsicles to help with swelling and relieve pain
- Rinse with saltwater
- Apply the provided orthodontic wax to irritated areas of the mouth and gums
- OTC pain meds, but be sure to ask your orthodontist before use
- Ice-pack on the cheeks
We know you hate to see your child in any sort of pain, but take comfort in knowing that the pain and tenderness will pass and the result will be a beautiful smile your child and you can both be proud of!
How Do I Make Sure My Child’s Teeth Stay Clean With Braces?
Dental hygiene while wearing braces is very important to the well-being of your child’s teeth. While it is more difficult to brush and floss around the wires and brackets, it is well worth it to help your child learn how to clean their teeth and braces appropriately, so there aren’t any stains left on their teeth after the braces are removed.
Brushing after any meals and before bedtime is necessary to keep your child’s teeth and their braces clean. Food easily gets stuck in braces and if left there can cause discoloration on your child’s teeth. Flossing is also important and more difficult while wearing braces, so your orthodontic team will show you and your child how to floss appropriately. Using mouthwash is still recommended as it can swish through the hard to reach areas of your child’s mouth and help as another line of defense against cavities.
Will My Child Need A Retainer?
Yes, your child will need to wear a retainer after their braces have been taken off. A retainer is used to help your child’s teeth to stay in place as he or she continues to grow. If your child doesn’t wear their retainer, their teeth may revert to their crooked positioning or worse, rendering the work done by the braces useless.
Children’s Orthodontic Treatment In Fort Worth
Ahava Orthodontics in Fort Worth is a trusted spot for orthodontic treatment by kids and parents alike. Our staff is experienced with young patients and we provide gentle and thoughtful care as we know braces are a big step for your child! Contact our office today for a consultation.