Many U.S. children will undergo orthodontic treatment at some point during their childhood. In fact, 75% of the 4 million Americans with braces are kids. The best news? Most kids are excited to start straightening their teeth and see braces as a key step in growing up. But how do you know when it may be time to consider braces for your child? Your pediatric dentist in Overland Park can help.
Orthodontic Treatment Starts With Your Pediatric Dentist
Many times, your pediatric dentist will be the first to suggest orthodontic treatment for your child. At each dental visit, your dentist and dental team are keeping a close eye on tooth development as your kid grows up. If your dentist sees a potential need for braces, you’ll probably be referred to an orthodontist, however, some pediatric dentists offer braces as well. This referral can happen at any age but usually occurs as early as six or even into the early pre-teens or teens.
Who Needs Braces?
There’s no one reason why your child may need braces. Your pediatric dentist in Overland Park will be able to explain your little one’s specific needs. Some reasons a child may need braces include:
- Teeth that are overlapping, overcrowded, or crooked
- A jaw problem caused by thumb sucking, an accident, or losing a baby tooth before it was ready
- Malocclusion, or a bad bite. This could be either an overbite — when the top jaw is bigger, or an underbite — when the bottom jaw is bigger.
Types of Braces
Thanks to advances in technology, there are now various types of orthodontic treatment available for kids (and adults, too!).
- The most common type of orthodontic treatment is metal braces, complete with wires, brackets, and rubberbands. The wires and brackets are tightened regularly to slowly move teeth into their ideal position. Plus, the rubber bands can come in fun colors.
- Another potential option for orthodontics is white or clear braces. There’s even a type where the brackets are placed behind the teeth so they’re less noticeable.
- Clear aligners are usually more reserved for adults or teens but may be appropriate for your child. Talk with your orthodontist or pediatric dentist to find out.
Finding the best orthodontic treatment for your child will depend on his specific needs. Your dentist may also recommend removing a tooth or two to allow more space for the teeth to properly align.
How Long Will My Child Have to Wear Braces?
Treatment duration depends on several factors, but the average time a kid spends in braces is about two years. But once the braces are off, it doesn’t mean the teeth will stay in their ideal position. Most times, your child will need to wear a clear retainer at night to keep teeth from shifting back and potentially requiring additional orthodontic treatment.
Even though there is no set age when kids will need braces, there are things you can do to make sure they get treatment at the right time. Seeing your pediatric dentist in Overland Park regularly is the best way to monitor your child’s oral health and tooth development so that you can start orthodontic treatment sooner rather than later if needed.
LeBlanc & Associates has pediatric dentists in Overland Park, Prairie Village, Olathe, and Kansas City to serve the entire Johnson County and Kansas City communities.