Answers to Common Questions About Kids’ Braces
Parents have lots of natural questions when it comes to their child’s health, and their dental health is no different. When it comes to orthodontic work, there may even be more questions than usual. Here are answers to some of the most common questions orthodontists are asked. They may spur you to think of others. Don’t hesitate to call an orthodontist near you to get answers to those questions about wearing braces in Irvine.
At what age should my child see an orthodontist?
Your child’s chronological age is less important than their dental age when it comes to timing their first visit to an orthodontist near you. Ideally, your child should see a dentist when their first permanent teeth begin to emerge, or around the age of seven. That doesn’t mean your child is about to start orthodontic treatment. An early examination may rule out any issues or simply set up a watch-and-see regimen so any interventions can begin when they can be accomplished easily and inexpensively.
Isn’t seeing a pediatric dentist enough?
Regular checkups with a pediatric dentist will ensure your child’s teeth are clean and free of tooth decay, that any cavities are filled, that there is no sign of gum disease and that her daily dental hygiene habits are doing their job. Pediatric dentists are specialists in your child’s day to day dental health, but orthodontists have unique expertise from a broader perspective. Orthodontists will review the development of your child’s face, jaw and teeth while watching for potential or present issues with teeth alignment or potentially impacted or missing teeth.
Will braces hurt?
We wouldn’t be being honest or transparent to answer this with anything other than: “There will be occasional and temporary discomfort, for sure.” No conscientious dentist should make promises they can’t keep. In the first few days after your child first gets braces near you, they will experience some discomfort as pressure begins to shift their teeth. After each adjustment at occasional follow-up dental appointments, they’ll likely again experience some discomfort. Thanks to innovations in the archwires to produce more flexibility than in the past, there is less discomfort than there used to be. One way to minimize the discomfort associated with adjustments is to give your child a Tylenol — as directed — an hour prior to their appointment.
How do you keep your teeth clean while wearing braces?
Lots of kids find keeping their teeth clean hard enough without braces. Wearing braces does make keeping them clean more challenging, it’s true, but it’s no less essential. Your child should still brush their teeth twice daily and pay particular attention to the area between the top of their brackets and the edge of their gums. That’s an area where bacteria and plaque can accumulate if not cleaned regularly and where gum disease can develop. While living with braces, your child will learn what foods make keeping their teeth and braces clean more difficult and adjust accordingly. Keep this in mind, too: You won’t be in this alone. At those regular checkups with your orthodontist in Irvine, those archwires will often be removed and your child’s teeth cleaned thoroughly before adjustments are made and the archwires put back in place.
Why does your child need to wear a retainer?
Parents and children alike look forward to the day that their braces come off their teeth. Sometimes hearing an orthodontist near you say that they need to keep wearing a retainer can come as a bit of a downer. Here’s why it’s important, though. When those braces first come off, your kid’s teeth are still unstable in their new position. Unless they wear a retainer, those teeth will have a natural tendency to shift back to their original positions — undoing all the work that was accomplished at great sacrifice. For a year or so, your child should wear their retainer full-time. After a year or so, they should continue to wear their retainer as they sleep. Beyond the two-year mark, the retainer should still be worn a few nights weekly unless the orthodontist or dentist directs otherwise.
We know we didn’t answer every possible question here. Whatever questions you have after reading this, contact an orthodontist near you to ask. Your orthodontist will arrange a consultation to answer those questions in the context of your child’s teeth and goals.