As you look into braces for kids, you might find all the choices a little overwhelming. Finding the right fit for your child’s needs can depend on various factors. You’ll want to consider your budget, how comfortable your child is with the idea of getting braces, and the kinds of corrections they need. Our team at Central Texas Orthodontics in Austin, TX, is pleased to help our patients find the right fit for their needs.
What Are the Right Types of Braces for Your Kids?
Braces that are cost-effective, durable, and work quickly tend to be good braces for kids. Self-ligating braces are able to tick all those boxes. These braces are made from the same durable material that traditional braces are made of. Instead of using elastics, these braces use an archwire to gently guide the patient’s teeth into a more correct position.
One of our favorite benefits of self-ligating braces is that they require fewer adjustments. This is an especially good perk for kids, who can find dental appointments exhausting. The self-ligating technology allows our patients to spend less time waiting through appointments, giving them more time to do what they enjoy.
The fact that we don’t have to replace elastics is one of the reasons we won’t have to make as many adjustments with self-ligating braces. In addition, elastics can be a bit challenging to clean around.
It’s very important that patients with braces stay on top of their oral hygiene. Self-ligating technology can make daily brushing and floss a little easier. For younger patients who struggle to brush their teeth for the appropriate amount of time, this can be a good bonus.
Self-ligating technology can be paired with a range of bracket options. For younger patients, metal brackets may be the best call. Older kids or teenagers may enjoy our clear or ceramic bracket options for a more discreet appearance.
The clear material of our ceramic braces allows them to be less visible on the surface of a patient’s teeth. That said, if you’re considering clear braces for your kid, it’s a good idea to take their maturity level into consideration.
These brackets require a bit more oral hygiene to avoid staining, so they tend to be a great choice for teenagers or adults who understand the importance of that. These braces are usually used for the upper front teeth.
Young kids may not mind the appearance of braces that much. They may be more likely to see their peers with braces, and in some cases may view it as a rite of passage. As kids get older, however, they may start to be more concerned about the appearance of braces.
Teenagers in particular may benefit from ceramic braces since they blend more seamlessly into the smile. It may help them be comfortable seeking out treatment without feeling self-conscious about it.
Clear aligners like Invisalign involve a progressive series of trays. As the patient moves on to the next tray in their series, their teeth will continue to get closer and closer to the end goal.
Each set of acrylic trays is clear, removable, and comfortably fits over the patient’s teeth. There are no brackets required at all for this treatment, and they’re considered the least noticeable way to correct a patient’s smile.
No Food Limitations
Braces are a great and effective tool, but it’s true that some foods have to be avoided when you get braces. Clear aligners allow the patient to keep the diet they’re used to. Not only is this encouraging for patients who were worried about giving up their favorite snacks, but it’s especially great for patients who already have food limitations. These patients often want to avoid any additional food restrictions.
Whenever you want to eat, all you’ll have to do is take your aligners out, eat your meal, clean your teeth, then pop the aligners right back in. If your teen wants to go to the movies, for example, they could leave their aligners at home to enjoy their favorite popcorn. They’ll just have to remember that these aligners should be worn between 20 to 22 hours each day in order to be as effective as possible.
Clear aligners have no metal, brackets, or sharp edges to speak of. They’re entirely made of smooth plastic and designed with comfort in mind. Your aligner trays will be specifically tailored for your teeth to ensure a good fit.
For a patient with a busy schedule, taking more time to brush and floss may not sound too appealing. With aligners, your teen will be able to take them out and brush and floss the way they always have. This can help patients thoroughly clean their teeth without having to put too much extra effort into it.
Invisalign can be helpful for kids who enjoy hobbies like sports or playing an instrument. With sports, while wearing mouth protection is certainly recommended, Invisalign is built to be durable and handle life’s curveballs. Invisalign also allows kids to continue playing wind instruments, although kids should be able to keep doing that with braces too.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. When Should I Look Into Treating My Child’s Teeth?
We treat patients of all ages, proving it’s never too late to start correcting your teeth. That said, an earlier treatment tends to make the process both quicker and easier for the patient. If your child has begun to show signs of tooth alignment issues, you may want to consider an orthodontic evaluation. It’s generally recommended that each kid gets an orthodontic evaluation by the time they’re seven years old.
This evaluation will help us determine if your kid would benefit from early intervention, or if these concerns are something to keep an eye on for later. Staying on top of your child’s dental visits can help us recommend the right treatment at the best possible time.
2. What Are the Health Benefits of Getting Braces for Kids?
Correcting teeth isn’t only done for cosmetic reasons. Fixing misaligned teeth can have many health benefits. One benefit is that straightened teeth tend to be easier to clean. Since overlapping teeth create tight spaces that are difficult to brush and floss, these spaces can harbor plaque and bacteria.
Even professional tools can have difficulty thoroughly cleaning these cramped areas, which could put a patient at increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Misaligned teeth can also be more challenging to fit with fillings and crowns.
Correctly aligned teeth tend to have less friction with each other. When misaligned teeth scrape against each other, it can cause tooth enamel to wear down at a faster rate. Tooth enamel is our first defense against tooth disease, and keeping this enamel strong for as long as possible is ideal.
If your child has a tooth issue that will eventually need treatment, treating it earlier rather than later can help make the treatment easier on them.
Misaligned teeth can also cause discomfort in several ways. It can lead to jaw strain, which can cause headaches and trouble sleeping. Any protruding teeth may also put patients at an increased risk of mouth injuries. This is especially true if your kid enjoys active hobbies like running around and playing sports.
3. Why Is Seven a Good Age for Orthodontic Evaluations?
Around seven years old is when kids start to get their first adult molars, which will establish their back bite.
Once these molars come in, we’ll be able to better tell how the front-to-back teeth and the side-to-side teeth are going to interact with each other. The back molars help determine if overcrowding, overbites, or open bites may develop. When we have that information, we can let you know our recommended treatments.
4. How Do I Know for Sure That It’s Time for an Orthodontic Evaluation?
When in doubt, it’s not a bad idea to set up a consultation. Whether you have a teenager who wants to improve the aesthetics of their smile, or a young kid with tooth alignment concerns, our team would be happy to help you. During your consultation, we’ll be able to address your questions and lay out our treatment options in greater detail.
We’re Ready With More Information
We hope this article was helpful as you make your choice, but we’re also more than happy to answer any remaining questions you may have. Each patient and their needs are individual, and we know how important it is to find the right fit when it comes to picking out braces for kids. Contact us at Central Texas Orthodontics in Austin, TX, today to get your consultation set up!