Your child’s smile gives them confidence. Yet, sometimes their smile needs a little extra help. Children get braces for many reasons. The main one is that their teeth may be misaligned. As a parent, you want to be there for your kid through the entire process. Here are some of the things to expect if your child is getting braces.
Signs Your Child Needs Braces
The first step to getting braces is determining why your child needs them. Children usually get braces around the ages of 8-14 once they have already lost most of their baby teeth. If you visit your dentist regularly, they can let you know if braces are necessary for your child.
You also want to keep an eye out for these other signs, such as:
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- Misaligned jaw
- An over or underbite
- Crowded teeth
- Thumb sucking
- Problems with chewing or biting
Types of Braces
When it comes to starting the dental procedure, you have to decide which type of braces you want for your kid.
Here are some of the different types of braces you can choose from:
- Metal Brackets: These are the most common type. Metal brackets are the most effective option but are easily noticeable.
- Ceramic: These have tooth-colored brackets that blend into your teeth. However, they can be more costly than traditional braces.
- Lingual: These are similar to metal braces but the brackets are placed inside the teeth. They are easily hidden but harder to clean.
- Invisalign: It is made up of multiple custom-made, clear plastic aligners. The advantage is it is barely visible, and you can eat and drink whatever you want.
The General Procedure
Once you determine what types of braces you want, then you can move forward in the process. The procedure may vary slightly depending on the type of brace. For traditional braces, an orthodontist will attach the wires with bonding glue.
When the glue is dry, the orthodontist will secure the archwire in place with elastic rubber bands. The rubber bands usually come in fun colors for the kids. Your child may need additional rubber bands. This helps adjust their jaw position or bitting movements.
One of your child’s biggest concerns might be that the procedure will hurt. The process of getting braces on doesn’t usually hurt. Although, you should prepare your child for soreness after the procedure.
Also, the procedure may last a few hours, so consider bringing along toys to help keep your kid distracted.
Your child will have braces for between 1-3 years, depending on their circumstances.
What Foods Can Your Child Eat With Braces
After your child gets braces, their diet will have to change. During the first few weeks after getting braces, their teeth will be sensitive.
You want to feed them soft foods, such as:
- Mashed potatoes
- Scrambled Eggs
What Foods Should Your Kids Avoid With Braces
Even after your child’s mouth becomes less sensitive, they should stay away from hard or sticky foods. These can damage their wires or brackets. Sticky foods can also cause the frame to become separated from your tooth.
Here are foods that should be taken out of your kid’s diet:
- Chewing gum
- Hard Candy
How to Keep Your Child’s Braces Clean
Along with watching what you eat, your child needs to keep up with their oral hygiene routine. Food can more easily get caught in between their braces. This can lead to the build-up of plaque and increase their risk of cavities.
If the bacteria reach the center of your tooth, it can cause long-term health issues. You may need an endodontic appointment to fix the problem. An endodontic procedure may consist of root canal therapy or extraction of your tooth.
You can also help your child stay on top of their oral routine. They should brush their teeth at least twice a day for two minutes. Then, make sure to remind them to brush thoroughly. You could even do spot checks after brushing to make sure they didn’t miss any places.
Here are some other tips to help keep your child’s braces clean:
- Brush your teeth after you eat
- Floss regularly
- Brush your teeth for an extra minute
- Be gentle
- Don’t forget to brush your tongue
Attend Follow-up Appointments
After your child gets their braces, you will need to visit the orthodontist every few weeks. This way, they can check on your child’s progress. The orthodontist may also make any adjustments to the wires. If any rubber bands are worn out, then these can also be replaced during the visit.
Be sure to mark these follow-up appointments on your calendar. Missing them could extend how long your child needs the braces.
Your child’s mouth may be sore after adjustments are made. Try going back to the soft food diet until your child’s mouth is feeling better.
Preparing Your Child for Braces
Getting braces is something many children go through. It helps to keep their teeth straight. The process may be challenging, but you can help them each step of the way. Keep this information in mind when one of your kids needs braces.