Does your child have an overbite, underbite, or missing teeth? Are you wondering if they need early orthodontic treatment?
Braces are an investment that pays off for parents. They make oral hygiene easier in the long run and give your child a reduced risk of cavities and periodontal disease. Braces can also reduce tooth grinding, chipping, and speech impairment.
Yet how young is too young for braces, and when do you need early orthodontic treatment for children?
Let’s take a look.
When Do Children Usually Get Braces?
Generally speaking, parents look into getting braces for their children when they’ve lost the majority of their baby teeth and most of their permanent teeth have grown in. This usually happens when children are between the ages of eight and fourteen.
Your dentist may recommend that your child have their first orthodontist visit for a number of reasons. These could include protruding teeth, facial imbalance, or tooth crowding.
Sometimes, however, your orthodontist may recommend a visit while you’re child is on the younger side. There could be several reasons for this.
Why Might Kids Need Early Orthodontic Treatment?
Your dentist might recommend orthodontic treatment for children as young as the age of seven. This could be because of an early loss of baby teeth, trouble chewing, or blocked-out teeth. Your child may also have poor oral habits such as thumb-sucking that could make early intervention a good idea.
A narrow jaw or bite complications are also good reasons for your dentist to recommend visiting an orthodontist early on. Children who don’t have any visible concerns can wait until they’re a bit older for their first visit.
What Are the Advantages of Early Orthodontic Treatment?
One of the main advantages of early orthodontic treatment is that it gives your orthodontist an opportunity to identify and correct any critical problems early. This could mean that they avoid potential surgery on the jaw or complications with braces. Or it could reduce the amount of time your child needs to wear braces as an adolescent.
If your child is grinding their teeth due to an unaligned jaw, they may be suffering from headaches or neck pain. Getting braces early on could help relieve your child of their uncomfortable symptoms.
If your child gets tooth aligners before their adult teeth come in, braces can help to guide them to a better position. This can help with oral hygiene and confidence.
Another advantage of early treatment is removing unwanted tooth movements. It can also serve to correct issues like thumb-sucking, which could lead to more serious jaw problems as your child gets a bit older.
Children with protruding teeth run the risk of falling and chipping or losing them. Early orthodontic intervention can serve to curb this risk. It can also help to correct any speech problems caused by an overbite.
How Can You Find the Right Orthodontist?
If your child is in need of early orthodontist intervention, your dentist may be a good place to start. They can recommend a local orthodontist who may have experience working with younger children.
Local parents are another great resource. If you don’t have any close friends or family members who have had kids in braces recently, go online to your community social media groups and ask for orthodontist recommendations. You may want to mention that your child is on the younger side and see if anyone can recommend an orthodontist who works well with junior patients.
You’ll definitely want to find a local specialist, as you’ll likely be making regular visits as your child continues their treatment. Once you’ve narrowed down your search, go online, and read reviews to get a good idea of what former patients are saying.
Was the orthodontist friendly and patient? Were children comfortable with them? Were parents happy with the results of the treatment?
The right orthodontist for your little’s chompers will be kind and communicative. Your family should feel confident in their ability to provide quality treatments for your child.
How Can You Afford Early Orthodontic Treatment?
Early orthodontic treatment means that your child may be getting tooth aligners in two phases. While this can seem like a real investment at first, it could end up saving you time and money in the long run.
Before you choose an orthodontist, make sure they take your dental insurance. Many dental insurances will pay for at least some of your child’s braces treatments.
You’ll also want to ask about payment plans. Some practices will offer monthly payment plans in which you can pay off braces a little at a time. Others may give you a discount for paying for the entire treatment upfront.
If a Health Savings Account (HSA) is part of your health insurance, you can put aside tax-free money each month, which means you’ll be increasing your take-home pay. These funds get put aside for health-related expenses that include braces and glasses.
If your employer doesn’t offer an HSA, you may want to look into a Flexible Spending Account (FSA.) These plans are similar to HSAs in that tax-sheltered monies are put aside from each paycheck that can be used for health expenses.
The main difference between these two plans is that HSAs have a bit more flexibility. If you don’t use all of your funds in one year, you can roll them over into the next.
The Early Advantage
Early orthodontic treatment is about the health, safety, and long-term well being of your child. With a little research and the right orthodontist, your child could be on their way toward a confident new smile in no time!
Don’t stop getting smart about your lifestyle now. For more great advice, read our blog today.