Things You Need to Know about Children Having Braces
As parents, all we want is for our children to be healthy and happy, which includes their oral health. Taking your child for regular checkups at the dentist’s from the earliest of age is important, but what signs tell us that our child needs braces? And when do we start paying attention? Here is some advice on the topic.
When do I take my child to an orthodontist?
Your dentist may be of great assistance here. They will tell you if there are any reasons for your child to visit an orthodontist. However, the best moment for this is probably at the age of seven. By then, your kid has lost all their baby teeth and their permanent teeth have started coming through. You don’t even have to wait for all their baby teeth to come out, or all of their permanent ones to appear. As soon as the first few are there, your orthodontist will know if there are any issues and exactly how to resolve them.
What do I pay attention to?
There are many signs that your kid might need braces. Some things you need to be on the watch for are crooked teeth, deformities in jaw growth, crowded, misplaced, or protruding teeth. However, you should also pay attention to some of your kid’s habits, like sucking their thumb, breathing through the mouth, or even grinding or clenching their teeth. Other signs may include difficulties in chewing or biting, facial asymmetry, losing all baby teeth before the age of five, or biting the inside of the mouth. Furthermore, teeth are something we often inherit genetically from our parents, so if you had to wear braces when you were a kid, take your child for a consultation as soon as possible, to establish whether they also need braces, or not. Mind you, unless you’re an orthodontist or a dentist yourself, some of these signs might go unnoticed, so there’s no harm in visiting an orthodontist even if you think everything is fine.
What kind of braces does my child need?
Braces remain the primary way of straightening your children’s teeth. However, there are now several types of kids’ braces you can choose from. For example, if your child doesn’t want the braces to show, there are those placed behind the teeth, making them virtually unnoticeable. Nowadays, braces are bonded to every tooth’s surface, moving them into the desired position by applying pressure to the jaws and teeth. They are usually made of stainless steel, but also ceramic or plastic, or even a combination of several of these materials. Other dental appliances your kid’s orthodontist can recommend include temporary anchorage devices (TAD’s), rubber bands or a headgear. Also, after removing the braces, your kid may get retainers to prevent the teeth from shifting.
What problems could my kid have while wearing braces?
Some kids report discomfort or even slight pain when they first get their braces, but also when they are adjusted or when they start wearing rubber bands or headgear. In this case, talk to your dentist or orthodontist and have them prescribe your kid the adequate pain-relieving medicines. If the wire or brackets cause irritation to your child’s mouth, have your orthodontist cover the sharp areas with a special type of wax. Furthermore, there are children allergic to stainless steel, but this doesn’t have to be a problem, since there are braces made of other materials. Another problem is that braces are delicate, so there are certain foods that your kid will have to avoid, such as popcorn, hard candy or chewing gum. If the braces get damaged, it may cause the teeth to move into an undesired direction, which may lead to a prolonged treatment.
So, be observant when it comes to your child’s teeth and jaw, but also talk to your kid’s dentist or orthodontist. A professional opinion will make all the difference. And don’t let your child dread braces. Explain that, other than being good for them, braces can be very cool and you’ll have less trouble with your kids accepting them.
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