10 Commonly Asked Questions Parents Have About Orthodontic Treatment
Dispel Myths Surrounding Cost, Treatment, and Results
As parents, our goal in life is to make sure our kids are happy and healthy. We teach them right from wrong, show them how to celebrate everyday victories, and take them to the doctor when they’re sick.
We’re there to help answer their questions, whether it’s about life’s biggest questions or a homework assignment. That said, we don’t have all the answers, even if our kids see us as superheroes. Sometimes parents need help too.
If you’re wondering about orthodontic care for your child, you’ve come to the right place. Below, we’ve answered some commonly asked questions parents have about orthodontic treatment.
1. What issues does orthodontics treat?
Orthodontic care doesn’t just straighten teeth. It can also fix issues with bite and help align the jaw. When your teeth fit together and your jaw is in alignment, it can make talking and eating easier. Plus, it can prevent early wear and tear and make it simpler to care for your teeth.
With straighter teeth, your child might also feel more confident and have higher self-esteem.
2. How will my child’s growth affect their orthodontic treatment?
Your child’s growth can actually help their orthodontic care. Depending on the issue, your doctor might be able to use your child’s growth to guide their teeth and jaw into place.
While you can get dental braces at any time in your life, they’re often the most effective during childhood. That’s because the natural growth patterns can speed up the orthodontic process.
3. How often will we have to come in for appointments?
The exact number of appointments your child needs will depend on the treatment and their progress. But, you can expect to have appointments as often as once a month or once every three months. The number of appointments you’ll need may also change throughout the treatment.
At each appointment, the dentist or orthodontist will check the braces and the treatment progress. Your child may also get their braces cleaned, have their teeth flossed, and get replacement wires and elastics. That said, these appointments may only take 30 minutes.
4. How do braces work?
Traditional braces use tension to gradually shift the position of your teeth. The shape of your jaw and position of your teeth adapts to the pressure over the course of treatment. Braces actually reshape the bone that holds the teeth in place.
The arch wire which connects to the bracket on each tooth is what provides this tension. At each adjustment appointment, the dentist or orthodontist will adjust the pressure on this wire.
5. Can my child still play sports or an instrument?
Yes, your child can still play sports or an instrument even while they have braces. No matter the sport, they need to wear a silicone orthodontic mouth guard which you can get from your pediatric dentist.
This will protect their braces and their teeth from injuries. If your child does get a mouth injury while they have braces, call the dentist providing orthodontic treatment right away. They’ll need to make sure there’s no damage so your child’s treatment can stay on track.
If your child plays an instrument that uses their mouth like the trumpet or clarinet, they can still play with braces. It may take some getting used to, but it’s perfectly safe.
6. What foods will my child have to avoid with braces?
Right after your child gets braces, they’ll want to eat soft foods for a few days. Their mouth might feel sensitive and they’ll need to adjust the way they chew. After a short time, your child can eat normally again, with a few exceptions.
Your child should avoid popcorn and crunchy snacks such as pretzels, chips, nuts, and crunchy vegetables. They should not eat chewy candy, gum, hard candy, and ice. Pizza crust and bagels are also best avoided.
All of these foods can get stuck in braces, damage the arch wire, or pull a bracket off the tooth.
7. How will braces change my child’s oral hygiene needs?
Braces work to straighten your teeth, but your child will still have to keep up with their oral hygiene routine. Food can easily get stuck in braces, which is why regular brushing is so important.
Your child should brush their teeth before bed and after every meal. That means they’ll need to brush at least four times a day.
They should also floss at least once a day to maintain healthy gums. The dental team can show you and your child how to floss with braces. Regular dental floss, dental tape, or a water flosser can all help your child floss.
Orthodontic appointments don’t replace routine dental cleanings, so you should still take your child to the dentist twice a year.
8. When should my child receive an orthodontic evaluation?
According to the American Association of Orthodontists, age 7 is the ideal time to take your child in for an orthodontic evaluation. By this age, kids have enough permanent teeth for the doctor to look for potential problems. They can spot subtle problems with the jaw and developing teeth.
If there’s an issue, the dentist or orthodontist may recommend a removable appliance or braces. Braces are an option even if your child still has baby teeth, but the exact treatment will depend on your doctor.
9. How long does treatment take to complete?
The length of treatment will depend on the issue you’re treating and your child’s progress. In some cases, treatment can last as little as 12 months or as long as 30 months. Your dentist or orthodontist will give you an idea of the time frame before you begin.
Sometimes, kids will need more than one course of treatment with braces. For example, if they get braces when they still have some baby teeth, they might need a second round of treatment once they get all their permanent teeth.
10. How much do braces cost?
Braces can be expensive, but remember that you’re investing in your child’s future oral health. Some dental insurance plans cover orthodontic care for kids, so check with your insurance provider to see what’s covered.
Check with your dentist to see if they offer payment plans to help you cover the costs.
Book an appointment for more answers to your commonly asked questions.
Knowing the answers to other parents’ commonly asked questions can help you prepare for your child’s first orthodontic evaluation. Once you understand the basics, you’ll see what additional questions you want to ask.
Whether your child needs orthodontic treatment or a professional teeth cleaning, Must Love Kids Pediatric Dentistry can help. We’re passionate about providing your little superhero the dental care they deserve. Contact us today to book an appointment.