Braces for Children: What You Need to Know
Not every child will naturally have perfect teeth – far from it. In fact, because of genetics and the precise ways that a child’s mouth develops, certain types of issues – like crooked teeth, crowded teeth, spaced teeth, overbites and underbites can occur at almost any age. However, making an appointment for your child to go to the orthodontist early is a great way to get an idea of exactly what types of problems he or she may have and make plans to correct it. For most kids, braces are usually worn closer to middle school but there are some developmental problems that should be corrected between the ages of 7-9 years.
Traditional braces are a great option for young children because they help to fix these orthodontic issues early to avoid complications in later years.
Things to Keep in Mind About Braces for Children
Most kids are familiar with braces and will be comfortable wearing braces.
If your child has an active lifestyle, he or she can continue to enjoy it. If they play any type of sports, though, they MUST wear a mouthguard to protect their teeth during this and other types of intense physical activity.
There are also a few types of foods that you’ll want to make sure your child avoids for the duration of their treatment. These include things like:
- Hard foods, like hard pretzels or candies or anything that you have to “bite” into.
- Chewy foods, like pizza crusts or certain types of candies like licorice.
- Sticky foods, which can also include certain types of candies like lollipops.
- Any food that can get stuck in between the wires or damage the bracket that connects the wires together. Corn on the cob and popcorn would both be good examples of this type of food.
The duration of treatment will depend on the orthodontic problem being corrected.. For most kids, they can expect to wear braces for 12 to 24 months. After treatment is over, your child will wear a retainer at night only.