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What You Need to Know About Braces For Kids

Braces are, surprisingly, an extremely common part of a child’s life. If you talk to many adults, they can tell you about a time when they had braces in either middle school or high school. You may have had braces yourself when you were younger. Time goes by, and now it’s time for our children to go through the same beautiful process of growing up. 

Orthodontic treatment for kids can be a different process than it is for adults. Of course, it is more common for kids to have braces than it is for adults. Getting braces for your kids can be beneficial for many reasons besides just getting straight teeth. There are many questions you can ask about getting braces for kids, and we want to help provide information and answer any of your questions you may have. 

Why do kids need braces?

There are plenty of reasons why kids need braces. The most common reason kids need braces if their teeth are crooked and overcrowded. Other reasons include malocclusion, which can be an overbite or underbite, and prolonged thumb sucking. Braces help to fix all these issues and prevent the future possibility of tooth decay, cavities, and plaque build-up in hard to reach spots. 

When teeth get overcrowded, it can be tough for your kid to properly clean these hard to reach places between crowded teeth. If teeth maintain this position until adulthood, it can cause damage to teeth over time and can lead to dental issues. Parents can bring their children to an early orthodontic screening by the age of 7 when the permanent teeth have begun to erupt. At your first orthodontist appointment, the orthodontist will be able to look at how teeth are coming in and if eventually, orthodontic treatment will be necessary. Problems may not be apparent in the first visit. Eventually, an orthodontist will be able to find a problem and decide the best time to start a treatment process.

How old does my child need to be for braces?

There is not any particular age that a child absolutely needs braces. Your orthodontist will be able to tell you when your child is ready to have braces. It is important to note that both the American Association of Orthodontists and the American Dental Association suggest that every child should be evaluated for orthodontic work by the age of 7. That is around the time where permanent teeth starting taking their places in the mouth. Between 9 and 14 is a good time for kids to start receiving orthodontic treatment. 

Younger Children and Braces

If you see a young child with braces, there could be two reasons behind it. The first being that they got them put on too young, and the second being that they are in phase 1. There have been cases where young children get braces, and eventually, when they get older, they have to get braces again. This is not the case for everyone! 

If you see a young child with braces, they could be in a phase 1 process in their orthodontic treatment. Kids may need a “phase 1” treatment for issues like extreme lack of space for incoming teeth, underbites, overbites, and crossbites. The whole purpose of this phase is to address foundational concerns such as space and the alignment of the jaw. Although phase one takes place for a range of children, most children do not need phase one. If your child does need a phase one, it should be very obvious as to why it is needed simply by looking at your child’s teeth. 

Are braces cheaper for children?

The cost of braces for kids is not much cheaper than braces for adults. Braces are expensive, but there are different costs depending on the type of braces your child wants or needs. Metal braces can cost up to $7,500, clear braces can cost up to $8000, and Invisalign can cost up to $8,500. The cost also depends on the length of treatment and severity of orthodontic issues.

Paying for your kid’s braces does not have to break the bank. If you have dental insurance, you can pay for treatment using that. Depending on your coverage, insurance could cover up to $3,500 of the treatment. There are also dental saving plans for those who do not have insurance. You can sign up for dental plans online and find out more information if you are interested. Payment plans are another option, but every orthodontist is different. You will have to ask your orthodontist if they offer payment plans. Lastly, there are state dental assistance programs that can help you pay for orthodontic services. 
We hope you found our blog about braces for kids helpful. Braces are a significant stage in a kid’s life and can help them get a great smile as they grow older. If you have any questions, give us a call today! If you live in the San Diego area and are ready to schedule your child’s first dental appointment, you can check out our Children’s Braces and Dentistry website.