Getting braces may not necessarily be a mandatory procedure more often than quite a few parents realize, and they aren’t always for the sole purpose of straightening your child’s teeth.  Other dental issues or potential problems could present the possibility for braces to minimize or eliminate these situations altogether.  And when braces are a possibility, some research suggests that it may be better to wait until your child is in their early teens to begin treatment options.

Overcrowded Teeth
Braces can be helpful with straightening and separating overcrowded teeth, which makes cleaning them easier.  Occasionally, this type of malocclusion can also be painful, so correcting it can additionally ease your child’s pain or discomfort.

Open Bite
This type of dental issue occurs when the top and bottom front teeth do not completely come together when your child bites down.  Both rows of teeth will keep growing toward each other as your child gets older, so you would want to at least wait until all your child’s baby teeth have been replaced before taking a look at correction options for this issue.

Debilitating Issues
Some dental issues are seriously handicapping, such as preventing your child from being able to easily or properly eat their food, or causing a lot of pain and discomfort.  In these situations, you would want to consider treatment options promptly.

According to many well-respected orthodontists, approximately 25% to 30% of children have this type of dental malocclusion.  This issue cannot be corrected with braces – it is an abnormality of the skull and is treated with external options that realign your child’s jaw.  Many orthodontists have determined that treating this issue at a very young age (under 8 years old) produces an outcome that is identical to the results when your child is treated in their teenage years or older.

Cosmetic Treatment
Sometimes, the most common reason for getting braces on your child is simply cosmetic – he or she feels uncomfortable or unattractive with the way their teeth look and correcting the issue can vastly improve your child’s self-esteem.  Crooked or disfiguring dental issues can have a heavy impact on your child’s future, causing problems and difficulties for them in school, relationships, and finding jobs later in life.  If your child does have this type of malocclusion, you should give serious consideration to treatment options to give your child peace of mind, improve their sense of self-worth, and ensure that they have the best possible opportunity for success in their professional, academic, and personal lives (self-esteem is a big deal, especially in younger people).

If you are contemplating braces for your child and are dissuaded by the expense, ask your orthodontist about payment plans or financing options.  There are also dental plans available outside what may be offered by your family’s health insurance that can help alleviate some of the costs associated with having orthodontic work performed on your child.

One of the key things to keep in mind when your orthodontist recommends braces for your child is this – ask the dentist why they are recommending that option and remember, it is just a recommendation (in most cases, excluding those where your child is going through eating difficulties or pain/discomfort).  Braces aren’t always just for kids these days, and a decision to wait until your child is older (when possible) does not mean you’re being an irresponsible parent – just a cautious and concerned one.

Visit Dr. Horner’s website for more information on orthodontic issues, concerns, and treatment options for yourself or your family members!

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