Parents may feel like they have a million and one jobs, but one of those jobs is the most important.

Setting up your child for success. While that means teaching them manners, encouraging their education, and taking care of their health, it also means giving them the gift of confidence.

Children’s orthodontics give kids the confidence of a great smile and can also prevent more serious health issues.

But, if you’ve never had a child receive orthodontic care before, you may be at a loss for where to start.

Is it too early for braces? Is it too late? And of course, how much is this going to cost me?

Read on to discover the ultimate parental guide to children’s braces!

1. What Do Braces Do?

These days, it seems like braces are a rite of passage for pre-teen children. But, what do braces actually do? And more importantly, does your child need them?

Braces can help correct a number of dental issues, the most popular being misaligned teeth. While this is often seen as a cosmetic issue, getting braces can be an intervention for more serious dental issues as well.

For example, braces can help correct overbites or underbites that may eventually cause jaw pain.

Other issues that braces may correct are overcrowded teeth, gaps in teeth, and even speech issues.

2. Traditional Braces

When you’re imagining braces for kids, you’re likely picturing traditional braces. These are the metal braces that are made of wires and brackets. 

These braces are the most common type of braces, as well as the most affordable.

To progress your child’s dental care plan, the orthodontist will regularly go in and tighten the wires on the braces.

Some families choose to move away from traditional braces due to preferences in the appearance of the braces, the likelihood that a metal bracket may break off, and the inconvenience of having food stuck in the wires.

3. Invisalign

The next most common option for childhood orthodontic treatment is Invisalign, which is a clear aligner. 

These look like retainers in that they are a clear mold of your teeth that can be put on and off. Therefore, they don’t look as noticeable as traditional braces.

Invisalign would need to be taken off during meals, which can be a pro or a con. 

On one hand, it isn’t as likely to have food stuck in your braces. On the other hand, keeping track of the Invisalign and having to take them in and out at meals can be an inconvenience as well.

4. Ceramic Braces

A lesser-known option for braces is ceramic braces. Similar to metal braces in that they follow the bracket and wire structure, these braces are made to be clear or off-white so that they match the color of the tooth.

This may be preferable for children who are insecure about the appearance of their metal braces.

5. Lingual Braces

Lingual braces are metal braces that go on the back side of the teeth as opposed to the front. Again, these are advantageous in that they hide the appearance of the braces.

The placement of these braces can also prevent staining on the front of the teeth that may come with traditional metal braces.

However, these braces may make speech difficult and may come with a longer treatment plan than other orthodontic options.

6. Mini Braces

Another spin-off to traditional metal braces is their smaller version, mini braces. Mini braces are aptly named, as they are simply traditional metal braces but with smaller brackets.

These mini-brackets may be less noticeable in appearance than traditional braces but maintain their general structure.

7. When to Get Braces

The age at which a child is ready/needs to get braces varies widely from case to case. Generally, your dentist can help you determine whether your child is a good candidate.

On average, most children get braces between the ages of 8 and 14. However, there are many factors to consider when evaluating your child’s readiness for braces.

For one, ask yourself if your child is responsible enough to care for their braces. Will they be able to clean their braces and avoid foods that will get stuck in them?

Another factor is the severity of your child’s dental issues. How long will they likely need to wear their braces? Many parents try to schedule their child’s orthodontic treatment for optimal times in their lives, such as before high school.

If your child’s dental issues are more serious, early intervention may be advantageous to them! A common myth is that children with baby teeth cannot get braces. However, this isn’t the case.

Finally, consider whether or not getting braces is something that your family can afford at this time.

8. Cost of Braces

Generally, braces can cost about $3,000-$7,000 per child. While this may be a hefty fee, having dental insurance that covers orthodontics can certainly help.

Additionally, most orthodontists will offer a payment plan so that you don’t need to pay the whole fee at once.

Also, if finances are a concern to you, ask your dental provider about discount programs, such as a discount for multiple children.

9. Consequences of Putting Off Braces

Braces can be a huge confidence booster for your child, but they can also correct a lot of serious issues too. If your child needs braces and doesn’t receive them, they could be at risk for jaw problems, gum diseases, speech difficulties, and other more serious issues.

It’s best to get your child evaluated by a dentist at around the age of 7. They will advise you further on whether your child needs braces and how urgently.

Start Thinking Of Children’s Orthodontics Early

Parents have a lot on their plate and it can be easy to push off thinking about children’s orthodontics until their child is in their teens. However, it has been shown that early intervention can be life-changing for many kids.

Don’t delay thinking about your child’s braces. If nothing else, you can start saving early!

To schedule an appointment with an orthodontist in the Seattle area, click here! We’ll advise you on the best route for your child’s orthodontic care.