Orthodontics: Get A Great Smile for Your Money

Orthodontics: Get A Great Smile for Your Money

Is your child between the ages of eight and twelve years old? Are you wondering if it’s time to think about orthodontics?

Generally speaking, kids will begin visiting an orthodontist when they have lost most of their baby teeth and the majority of their permanent teeth have grown in. This usually happens between the preteen and early teen years.

Are braces a good investment? How can they help your child?

Let’s take a look.

What Conditions Require Orthodontics?

When your child’s teeth are ready, their dentist might recommend a trip to the orthodontist to see if braces can help them.

An orthodontist uses a number of tools to determine whether or not orthodontics are necessary for your child. These include a thorough dental exam, special X-rays and photographs, and plaster models of teeth.

Your child may have an overbite, in which the upper teeth stick out over lower teeth. Pain in the jaw and slurred speech can result. An overbite can get treated with six months to two years of treating braces, which will make children’s teeth straighter and easier to clean.

An underbite can occur when your child’s lower teeth are too far forward. Braces can gradually align the jaw back up with their teeth.

Your child could also have problems with spacing, or gaps between teeth. This could cause chewing to become a problem, and may even lead to digestive issues. Braces can serve to close the gaps by pulling teeth more closely together over time.

It’s also possible for children to suffer from tooth crowding, which could lead to difficulty with brushing and flossing. Food that gets stuck between teeth could also lead to bad breath. Braces can use brackets and wires to correct crowding.

What Kinds of Braces Are Available?

The most common type of orthodonture is braces and the most common type of braces are good old-fashioned metal styles.

Metal styles are generally the least expensive option, and kids can get their colors changed for different holidays, sports teams, or other events. They are also less likely to break than ceramic options. Metal braces, however, are also quite visible, and may not be best for those who are very self-conscious.

Ceramic braces are similar to metal braces, but they’re a bit less noticeable because they’re made from tooth-colored ceramic material. They are, however, still quite strong and durable. Nonetheless, some patients find they stain more easily than metal braces and can be difficult to clean.

Lingual braces fit behind the teeth rather than in front of them, so they are nearly invisible. They are also, however, more expensive than either metal or ceramic braces. Lingual braces may also give you a bit of a lisp, and they can take longer to work than conventional braces.

Invisalign is another more expensive but nearly invisible option. Your child will get a new set of clear aligner trays every one to two weeks.

Invisalign trays are removable, so patients can easily brush or floss their teeth after eating. There are also fewer food restrictions.

If, however, your child is prone to lose things, Invisalign may not be for them. Patients who choose this method will be more responsible for keeping up with the requirements of their treatment.

What Other Types of Orthodontics Are There?

After your child has their braces removed, they may be given a retainer to help teeth maintain their new positions. Retainers can also get used in the treatment of minor orthodontic problems.

Your orthodontist could also recommend a palate expander, which widens the upper jaw. They could also prescribe jaw repositioning appliances, which help train the jaw to close into a more favorable position. 

Headgear could also get prescribed in some cases. This slows the growth of the upper jaw and helps to keep the back teeth in place while front teeth get pulled back.

What Should I Expect When My Child First Visits the Orthodontist?

It’s important to approach the first trip to the orthodontist in a relaxed, confident manner so your child won’t be fearful or concerned.

During their first trip, your child will get a thorough examination that includes photographs and X-rays. You can then look at the photos along with your child while your orthodontist gives a diagnosis. They will also recommend a course of action.

Your orthodontist should provide you with an estimate of the total costs of braces and other orthodontic wear that they’re recommending. Many offer at least two different payment plans. Some offer a discount for paying for the entire treatment upfront.

Check with your dental insurance and see what amount of the cost of braces they’ll cover. Some folks also have options with their employers such as Health Savings Accounts (HSA’s) or Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA’s) that can help them put aside tax-sheltered funds to pay for braces each month.

If the orthodontist decides that it’s time to begin treatment, they will also take impressions of your child’s teeth. They’ll estimate the amount of time your child will need to be in braces and recommend additional appliances if it’s necessary.

Your child may, for example, also require expanders or retainers. Your first visit should be thorough and can last around one to two hours.

Get Smiling!

The right orthodontics will set your child’s teeth straight and keep their mouth healthy throughout their lives. They will have increased confidence and self-esteem. Best of all, they’ll be forever grateful that you took the trouble to invest time and money in their lifelong oral health!

For more information on great orthodontists, contact us today.

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