Anytime you make a big decision for your child, it weighs on your mind. Is this the right thing for them? Should we wait? How will this affect them when they’re older?
All good questions. And when it comes to braces, many parents ask, “When should my child get braces?”Creative Commons
What Age Do Kids Get Braces?
So how do you know when your child is ready for braces?
First, your dentist, even though they have some orthodontic training, can help you determine when to refer your child to a certified orthodontist.
Both the American Association of Orthodontists and the American Dental Association suggest every child be evaluated for orthodontic work by the age of 7. At that point, the orthodontist is able to see if there are any problems with the growth of the jaw or misaligned teeth coming in. After evaluation, most children start orthodontic treatment between age 9 and 14, although some kids have started as young as age 6 or 7.
It’s best for your child if they get orthodontic care while their bones and mouths are still growing. Because once they stop growing, correcting a smile can take longer and be more work.
Types Of Braces For Kids
There are a few different types of braces your child can get. Your orthodontist will have a recommendation in mind, but it’s still good to know what your options are.
- Traditional metal braces: These are the most common type of braces. They have steel ties that secure the wires that run through the brackets.
- Self-litigating braces (Damon braces): These are like traditional braces but they don’t use steel ties to hold the wire in place. The brackets themselves secure the wire.
- Clear braces (aka ceramic braces): Similar to traditional braces, except that the brackets are made of ceramic and they’re clear. The wires, however, are still visible.
- Invisible aligners: Invisible aligners are clear mouthguard-looking devices that are see-through and fit over the patient’s teeth. Using multiple sets of invisible aligners, the teeth are straightened. There are many companies who make these, like Invisalign, SmileDirectClub, and others.
How Much Do Braces Cost For Kids?
Sadly, the cost of braces for kids is not that much cheaper than adult braces. You see, braces are just plain expensive.
Here’s an estimation of the cost of the different types:
- Metal Braces: up to $7,500
- Clear Braces (ceramic braces): up to $8000
- Invisalign (invisible aligners): up to $8,500
- Damon braces: up to $8,000
As you can see, braces are pricey. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to save money on orthodontic treatment.
How To Pay For Kids Braces?
There are a few methods for spending much less
The first way to pay for braces is obvious — your dental insurance. If you have coverage, it can pay for up to $3,500 of your child’s orthodontic care (although you should double-check with your insurance company).
Dental Savings Plans
If you don’t have dental insurance (lots of people don’t), you can look at a dental savings plan. This is something you sign up for online, pay a small annual fee, and get up to 60% with every single visit to the orthodontist.
Whatever amount you owe your orthodontist, you can ask them if they offer payment plans. This is where the orthodontist agrees to accept monthly, no-interest payments until you’re able to pay off the bill. That way, you’re able to make ends meet and the orthodontist can be sure they’ll get paid.
State Dental Assistance Program
Many states have a dental assistance program that can help pay for orthodontic services. To qualify, you’d have to fit into a certain low-income bracket. These programs are funded by the state’s budget.
Braces For Kids FAQ
Still got questions? They’re probably answered below!
How Long Do Kids Wear Braces?
It depends on the severity of your child’s case and how well your child takes care of the braces. But usually, the average timespan of a braces treatment process is 2 years. After braces, they may have to wear a removable retainer to keep the teeth in place.
Can Braces Be Painful For My Child?
“Painful” might be too strong of an adjective, but braces will most likely be uncomfortable. Usually, the discomfort comes right after they’re first placed and any time the orthodontist adjusts them. Over-the-counter pain meds (like Tylenol or Ibuprofen) and help.
Is It Possible To Be Allergic To Braces?
It is very rare to have an allergic reaction to some of the material used in braces, but some people are allergic to latex, which is in the rubber bands often used with braces. Also, some people have reactions to nickel, which is also in braces.
Is There Any Special Diet For Kids With Braces?
While wearing braces, your child should consider soft food diet, avoid certain foods that could damage the braces and cause the treatment process to be longer. Your child should avoid foods that are hard, sticky, chewy, or that can easily get stuck in braces. This includes popcorn, hard candy, gum, caramel, and ice.
- The best time for a child to get braces is while their body is still growing, usually between ages 9 and 14.
- Your orthodontist could choose from a handful of different treatment options, including traditional metal braces, Damon braces, clear/ceramic braces, and invisible aligners.
- Braces for kids can cost over $8,000.
- You can save a good amount of money on braces, thanks to options like dental insurance, dental savings plans, payment plans, and state dental assistance program.