Children Braces & Orthodontics FAQ

Town Center Dentistry in Rancho Bernardo answers frequently asked questions about children braces and crooked teeth in children.

For many children, great oral health means braces. And for most parents, mention of braces brings up a lot of questions. But don’t worry. Here at Town Center Dentistry, we have an orthodontist on our team who can answer them. Take a look below at some of our frequently asked questions about children’s braces.  If you don’t find the answers you’re looking for here, give us a call and we’ll help you get the information you need.

How will I know if my child needs braces?

If you take your child to the dentist regularly, your dentist should take note of any glaring irregularities in your child’s bite and recommend a visit to the orthodontist. But it’s also a good idea to schedule an appointment with an orthodontist if your child is over the age of 6 and has never seen one. The orthodontist is trained to see things that your dentist may not pick up on, thereby helping to prevent future problems with your child’s bite.

What causes crooked teeth?

Crooked teeth may be caused by crowded teeth, thumb sucking, large teeth, missing teeth, small jaws, tongue thrusting, the premature loss of baby teeth, or other causes. An orthodontist can help you better understand why your child’s teeth are crooked.

Are crooked teeth really that bad?

Actually, yes. The importance of fixing crooked teeth is more than for just cosmetic appearance.  Crooked teeth can potentially result in several health problems, including: gum disease, bacteria growth, tooth wear, tooth injuries, chewing difficulties, and bad breath. Additionally, crooked teeth can also result in self-consciousness and a lack of confidence.

What’s the best age for my child to get braces?

Generally speaking, most children get braces between ages 10 and 14, when their mouth and head are still growing and their permanent teeth are still erupting. In certain cases, it is advised that children wait longer or start earlier. Your orthodontist will help answer this question specifically for your child. Don’t worry if your child is past the generally recommended age. Braces can help far into adulthood as well.

When should I take my child to the orthodontist the first time?

Age 6 or 7 is a good time to take your child to the orthodontist for the first time.   

What should I ask the orthodontist?

If the orthodontist recommends that your child get braces, you may want to ask:

What exactly needs to be done?

What are the options?

What is the scope of the plan?

How long will the process take?

How frequent will office visits be?

How much does this cost (and what is included)?

What insurance plans do you take?

How do braces work?

The braces are made from brackets attached to the teeth and connected by archwire. The periodic adjustment of the archwire puts a light pressure on the teeth, allowing them to be slowly and gently guided to their proper position. The treatment may also include elastics, retainers, or a headgear.  

Do braces hurt?

Braces do cause some discomfort, especially in the beginning and after periodic adjustments. But in both cases, the discomfort only lasts for 2-3 days. Most patients report that the pain decreases a bit with each adjustment.

How often will I need to bring my child in for office visits?

This will depend on the recommendation of your child’s orthodontist, the stage of treatment, and severity of your child’s misalignment or other problem. Most children will only need to visit the orthodontist every 5 to 10 weeks, though some children may require more frequent visits.

How long will my child have to wear braces?

Again, not all cases are the same, but the average child with braces wears them for between 1 and 3 years, depending on growth and the scope of the problem that the braces are addressing.

How can I help my child feel better about having braces?

Starting your child in braces early can make a big difference in how they feel about wearing them. During middle school, many of your child’s classmates may have braces, which can lessen the self-consciousness that the braces could potentially inspire at an older age. You can also sit down with your child and do an Internet search for celebrities with braces. Seeing before and after pictures of such celebs as Kendall Jenner and Niall Horan is a great reminder that braces are temporary and get wonderful results.

Celebrities with braces gallery

At Town Center Dentistry, we can help straighten and brighten your child’s smile!

Here at Town Center Dentistry, not only do we provide a wide range of dental services, but we also do orthodontia. Dr. Gary Sanner has been practicing orthodontia for 29 years, and he’ll help keep your child in great oral health. That means you won’t have to drive across town to take one child to the dentist and one child to the orthodontist. We do it all here at our offices in Rancho Bernardo.

Call today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Sanner or any of our other dental health practitioners!