I think my child needs braces: What are the first steps?

I think my child needs braces: What are the first steps?
Posted on 09/17/2016

Children should have their first dental visit around the age of twelve months. If you have taken your child for prior exams, your dentist will be able to give you a heads up that dental braces may be in your child’s future. A visit with the orthodontist can be anticipated around the age of six or seven even though treatment may not be started at that early age. If orthodontic treatment is introduced at a very young age, this is called interceptive orthodontics and is useful in the prevention of future problems.

If you believe your child needs dental braces, and you have not already had your child seen by your family dentist, that should probably be your first step. Your family dentist can make sure your child’s teeth are thoroughly cleaned and examined for any issues, such as dental decay, before referring you to an orthodontist.

If you don’t get a recommendation from your dentist, you might speak to a trusted friend or relative that has prior experience with a local orthodontist. Since your child can be under orthodontic treatment for many months, it is best to select a provider that has convenient hours to accommodate your schedule; is located in close proximity to make regular check-ups convenient; and is someone you and your child like, are comfortable with, and trust completely.

Before treatment starts, your child will have x-rays, photographs, and dental impressions taken.

Dental braces are designed to slowly shift teeth to their correct occlusion eliminating issues such as an over bite, under bite, or cross bite. Braces are permanently cemented to teeth; wires are threaded through brackets; and with follow up visits the wires are tightened to allow teeth to continue to shift to their correct placement.

Your child’s diet will likely need to change while wearing braces. Hard or chewy foods and fresh fruits and vegetables require being cut into small pieces to consume; chips, nuts, sticky foods, and chewing gum will likely be placed on the forbidden list.

Daily brushing and flossing are important to prevent plaque build-up around bands, brackets, and the gum line. A bacterial and/or fluoride rinse might be recommended during treatment.

While your child might not be happy about wearing braces, they will be glad when they have a beautiful smile and straight, healthy teeth/gums to carry them through life.

If it’s time to schedule your child’s evaluation, contact San Antonio Orthodontics at 210-543-8000 today.