Is it Time to Get Braces? And Other FAQ

Braces are the bane of every American teenager’s life. While they want the perfect smile, the path to that perfect smile involves painful, obnoxious braces. If your child needs braces, you probably have a lot of questions. Read on for 5 most commonly asked questions about braces.

When Should My Child Get Braces?

Most patients get their braces on between the ages of 10 and 14. Most do not get their braces on until they have lost all of their baby teeth and their 12 year old molars have partially grown in. Exceptions are made for serious problems or if the mouth is not yet mature enough for braces. However, you should take your child in for an exam by an orthodontist by age eight so that the orthodontist can determine what might need to happen and possibly prevent problems from escalating.

Why Should My Child Get Braces?

Many people believe that you should get braces simply to make your smile look better. This is a limited understanding. While braces do fix cosmetic problems, more importantly, they fix functional ones. Common functional problems include: a mouth that is too small for the teeth, overbites or underbites, crooked teeth or incorrect jaw position. These problems can cause headaches, gum disease, tooth decay, speaking problems, chewing problems, earaches, etc.

Why Do Some People Need Braces and Not Others?

Tooth structure is mainly genetic. If you had bad teeth, chances are your children will have bad teeth as well. Bad habits such as thumb sucking, mouth breathing, and other factors such as loss of teeth from injury or tooth decay can make it necessary to get braces.

How Long Will I Have to Wear Them?

Typically, braces are worn between 12 and 30 months. Wearing braces for longer than that can damage the teeth. However, if the problem is severe enough, the braces were put on before all of the baby teeth were lost, or the treatment plan changed, a patient may wear their braces for longer. After braces, the patient will need to wear a retainer for most of their life to keep the teeth in their new position.

Do Braces Hurt?

Sometimes. When a patient first gets braces, they tend to be uncomfortable and sometimes painful. After every adjustment, it will also hurt again for a few days. But after a while, patients barely even notice their braces. Braces today are not like the braces of your childhood. The technology has greatly improved and are less noticeable, less painful and more effective than ever before. Consequently, patients don’t have to wear their braces for quite as long.

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