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How Long Do Kids Usually Need To Wear Braces?

Does your child have crooked or overlapping teeth? Are you concerned that your child has overcrowded teeth? If so, you may want to start thinking about whether braces for kids are a good option. At Bowman DMD in Fort Walton Beach, FL, we offer this highly effective orthodontic treatment to address a wide variety of concerns. Today, we’re taking a closer look at this treatment, including how long it takes to work and who it usually benefits.

How Long Do Kids Usually Need To Wear Braces?

Kids usually need to wear braces for 24 months. How long your child will need to wear braces depends on many factors, including the type of orthodontic concern being treated and the severity of the orthodontic concern being treated. If nothing more than a mild orthodontic concern needs to be treated, your child may only need to wear their braces for under a year. If a severe orthodontic concern is being addressed, they may need to wear braces for 30 months.

Is the Treatment Complete Once the Braces Are Removed?

No, your child’s teeth straightening journey will not be complete once the braces are removed. For at least one month following their treatment, they will need to wear a retainer 24/7. The retainer may only be removed when they are eating or brushing their teeth. After a month, it may be appropriate for your child to start wearing their retainer only at night. Nighttime retainer wearing is a practice that should continue for life because teeth can shift with age.

Are Braces Right for My Kid?

Your child needs to attend an orthodontic appointment before a determination can be made about their candidacy. During this visit, your child’s jaw, mouth, and teeth will be examined. They may need to bite their teeth together to check for malocclusion, a condition that can be treated by braces for kids. Children with malocclusion have upper and lower jaws that are not the same size. They have an underbite if the lower jaw is bigger. If the upper jaw is bigger, they have an overbite.

We also will talk to your child about whether they have trouble swallowing or chewing. Moreover, we will inquire about any jaw popping or clicking. Most likely, we will take X-rays of your child’s mouth to verify that there are no permanent teeth that still need to come in and assess the positioning of the teeth. Moreover. we will most likely take a mold of your child’s teeth to help us determine which orthodontic treatment is right for them.

What Types of Braces Are Available?

There are several types of braces for kids. Usually, kids benefit from braces with rubber bands and wires connecting brackets. Over time, the wires are tightened slowly. This shifts the teeth into alignment gently. Your kids can pick new rubber band colors every time they come in to have their wires tightened. The brackets come in different colors and materials. Some are metal, while others are clear or white ceramic. There are also braces that go behind the teeth.

How Will My Child Need to Care for Their Braces?

Braces for kids require special care to ensure optimal treatment. It is extremely important that your child brushes their teeth after meals, and they will need to floss daily. To help them floss effectively around the brackets, we will give them a special flosser. Alternatively, water flossers are very effective for children with braces. It is also extremely important that they have regular dental cleanings and checkups to ensure they are free from cavities.

How Should My Child Brush Their Teeth With Braces?

When your child is brushing their teeth, it is of the utmost importance that they start by rinsing their mouth out with water. Swishing water around the mouth and spitting it out loosens debris, like food particles. This makes the debris a lot easier to remove when brushing.

Once they’ve rinsed their mouth out, they should hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and brush along the gum line very gently. Then, the tops of the brackets should be brushed thoroughly. After that, the toothbrush should be angled upwards so that they can brush under the wire and brackets. Finally, the bottoms of the teeth and the backs of the teeth should be brushed thoroughly but gently.

Is Mouthwash a Necessary Part of the Oral Hygiene Routine?

Yes, mouthwash is a necessary part of the oral hygiene routine. After your child has rinsed their mouth out with water, brushed their teeth, and flossed their teeth, they will need to use an antibacterial mouthwash to rinse out their mouth again. This will eliminate any stubborn food particles that may remain, kill germs, and freshen their breath.

What Should My Child Avoid Eating and Drinking During Treatment?

There are several dietary restrictions your child will need to adhere to during their treatment. For example, it is extremely important that they do not chew gum, eat popcorn, or have candy that is hard or sticky. Furthermore, your child should only drink juice and soda on rare occasions. Sugary beverages can result in tooth decay.

What Should I Do If a Wire or Bracket Comes Loose?

If a wire or bracket comes loose, you should schedule an orthodontic appointment right away. Similarly, you should schedule an orthodontic appointment as soon as possible if your child reports that they can feel a wire poking their gum. If there is no discernible wire poking the mouth, orthodontic wax can be used to cover the braces in the problem areas.

Can My Kid Play Sports If They Have Braces?

Yes, your child will be able to continue playing sports if they get braces. However, there is a caveat. They will need to wear an orthodontic mouthguard molded to fit their unique mouth. At first, a boil-and-bite mouthguard may suffice. Over time, though, they will no longer fit due to the teeth shifting with braces. Furthermore, boil-and-bite mouthguards are less comfortable and less effective.

Note that even though only kids who play contact sports need to wear an orthodontic mouthguard, it is highly advisable that kids who play non-contact sportswear an orthodontic mouthguard, too. For example, while nobody ever gets tackled while playing soccer, there have been instances of the ball striking a player in the face.

What If Braces Aren’t Right for My Child?

Depending on your child’s age, they may be a better fit for Invisalign. To be considered a good Invisalign candidate, one must have only permanent dentition. Usually, this occurs between the ages of 12 and 13. Furthermore, a good Invisalign candidate is responsible and can commit to wearing the invisible aligners 20 to 22 hours per day. A good Invisalign candidate must also be able to care for their invisible aligners properly.

If we determine that Invisalign is a better fit for your child, you should know that they will have to wear their invisible aligners for 12 to 18 months. Every week or two, they will get new aligners that will continue to guide their teeth into proper alignment. The severity of the concern being treated and how long your child keeps their invisible aligner in daily affects how long the treatment will take.

Are There Dietary Restrictions for Children With Invisalign?

There are no dietary restrictions for children with Invisalign because the invisible aligners are removed prior to eating. However, if you are concerned about the length of treatment, you should advise your child to only drink water. If they drink juice or soda, the aligners will need to be removed to prevent staining.

How Do Aligners Need To Be Cared for?

Your child should clean their Invisalign trays every morning and evening. Both of the aligners should be scrubbed gently with a soft toothbrush and toothpaste. They should not be exposed to mouthwash, denture cleaner, or other abrasive substances.

Learn More About Braces for Kids Today

As a general rule, braces for kids usually need to stay in for a couple of years. In some cases, though, a child will only need to wear braces for less than a year. Braces can treat a number of orthodontic concerns, including malocclusion, overlapping teeth, and overcrowded teeth. If you believe your child could benefit from braces, contact us now at Bowman DMD in Fort Walton Beach, FL to schedule an initial evaluation. We will gladly tailor a treatment plan for your child.