As an orthodontist, we offer children’s braces as one of our treatment options. We can begin examining children as young as seven years of age and may recommend early orthodontic interventions such as spacers or an expander at that appointment. Once a child has most or all of the permanent teeth, we can then fit the child for braces. We typically use braces to straighten teeth around 10 to 12 years of age.
After securing the braces in place, it is necessary to take good care of them. Damage to braces can cause a delay in the treatment process and make it necessary for children to wear braces far longer. Fortunately, parents can take proactive steps to help prevent damage and we will do so during regular examinations.
Ways to protect braces
#1. Keep them clean
If a child keeps braces clean, the teeth underneath them will also be kept clean. Keeping braces clean is important for oral health. If a child were to develop cavities while wearing braces, the cavities will weaken the teeth and lead to emergency dental care. In this scenario, emergency dental care can delay the orthodontic treatment so the dentist can take care of the infected teeth. Brushing is incredibly important and one way to prevent these types of emergencies.
#2. Be careful with food
When wearing children’s braces it is important to stay away from any foods that are too sticky. Chewing on caramel, for example, can cause the bracket or wire to become stuck to the candy and move out of place. Likewise, avoid chewing anything too crunchy like nuts or carrots since this can cause the bracket to become dislodged as well. Remember that the brackets are held in place using dental cement so they can be moved.
Parents can help a great deal by purchasing foods that are safe and easy for a child to eat during their treatment. This may require purchasing different types of snacks like crackers instead of chips, or cheese instead of nuts. Taking these steps can make the difference between needing an emergency orthodontist visit or going through the entire treatment without one.
#3. Wear a mouthguard
Children who play sports are at a high risk of suffering damage to their braces, lips or cheeks. This is because something as innocent as a flying elbow or runaway ball can cause damage by colliding with the mouth. The brackets on children’s braces are sharp and if the lips or cheeks come in contact with them, there will be cuts and bleeding.
Additionally, an impact like this can lead to a bracket being dislodged or a wire broken. To prevent this type of damage, children can wear a mouthguard. We can help to provide one and recommend that children wear it during all practices and games.
#4. Keep dentist and orthodontist appointments
Continue taking a child to the dentist to have their teeth cleaned twice per year. Dental cleanings and examinations are critical for maintaining their oral health, something that will impact orthodontic work as well. Visiting our orthodontist office regularly is important to ensure that the braces be maintained properly and include switching out the wires and rubber bands as needed.
Schedule an appointment
Learn more about children’s braces and how to maintain them by scheduling an appointment with our dental office.
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