When is the right time to consider orthodontics for your child – and what are your options?

As your child’s permanent teeth start to appear, you might be alarmed at the angles and positions they take. Adult teeth, at this early stage, are a bit like the big bullies in the playground. They push the smaller baby teeth out of the way and stand wherever they feel happiest. Don’t worry, as more and more of them come in, they’ll re-shuffle and eventually move into a much more acceptable line-up. Usually.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t always happen this way, which is why we need to monitor your children’s tooth eruption pattern from the beginning. We might spot signs of impending trouble as early as age 6 or 7, and there are interventions we can take at that stage if required. More commonly, we wait and see how things shape up and then recommend orthodontics if needed – typically around age 11-13.

Here are a few answers to some frequently asked questions about orthodontics for kids.

What do braces do?
Braces realign your child’s teeth to help correct their bite, to close gaps between teeth or to stop teeth from protruding. The problems they fix might be functional, affecting their eating or speech, or aesthetic, affecting their self-confidence.

Are braces available on the NHS?
Where there is a dental need, orthodontic treatment is available free of cost on the NHS for children under the age of 18. NHS orthodontics generally involves traditional metal braces.

How long does treatment take?
In most cases, braces need to be worn for between 18 months and two years, but much depends on the individual problem we’re trying to correct.

Do braces hurt?
It shouldn’t hurt your child at all to have their braces fitted. Wearing them will require a certain adjustment, as their tongue and lips get used to having them in their mouth. They may also experience temporary soreness in their gums when the braces are tightened – usually every four to six weeks.

Can I have clear braces?
Clear, or tooth-coloured, braces are available but not on the NHS. If you choose private orthodontics for your child, we are able to offer a much wider range of treatment options.

With the summer holidays approaching, now is a great time to consider getting braces for your child, as they’ll have the summer to get used to them before going back to school. Get answers to any questions and start the process by booking an orthodontic consultation at 543 today!