Wondering when to see your Columbus orthodontist about braces for your kids? We understand. For many young people, braces are not only an important dental health option, they are a virtual rite of passage. Often, however, braces are also the subject of misconceptions and even a bit of anxiety. In this post, we will set your mind at ease and give you the facts you need about this timely topic.
Why Your Child May Need Braces
The human jaw is a wonder of nature. The upper and lower jaws work together with remarkable precision, enabling important functions like speech and digestion. Sometimes, though, Mother Nature needs a little bit of help from an orthodontist. Here are times when braces are sometimes necessary:
- When a child loses his or her baby teeth too soon.
- When a child has an accident affecting the development of the jaw.
- When genetic factors play a role; i.e. due to inherited traits.
When a person’s upper jaw is larger than their lower jaw, the result is an overbite. When the lower jaw is larger than the upper jaw, the result is an underbite. Either condition can cause lifelong oral health problems, including trouble chewing or swallowing food, headaches, and an unpleasant clicking or popping sensation in the jaw. The purpose of braces is to fix these issues before they become too severe.
In most cases, the doctor who actually notices that braces are needed is your family dentist. He or she will examine your child’s teeth and spot the telltale signs. This often occurs around age 7, though it can begin earlier in life. Some children show no sign of needing braces until they’re in their teens.
Your family dentist will refer you to an orthodontist for a further examination, X-rays, and an initial fitting. The orthodontist may also create a mold of your child’s teeth to serve as a guide for creating the braces. He or she will also discuss treatment options with you and your child.
Dental science has made vast improvements over the past few years. Today’s braces are more effective and less obtrusive than those you may remember from the past. Besides traditional metal brackets, possible options include ceramic -colored types, braces that fit behind the teeth, and special Invisalign products that the wearer can remove for eating and sleeping.
The issue of cost often causes great concern among parents whose children needs braces. Fortunately, many insurance plans cover much of the expense. Even if this isn’t true in your case, you may have other options to consider. These include:
- Funding through government sources such as Medicaid.
- A special program called Smiles Change Lives, which is available in all 50 states.
- Dental school services. Training programs for new orthodontists make it possible for families with limited means to receive braces. All treatment is provided under the careful eye of experienced practitioners.
- Private initiatives. Charities, civic clubs, and many faith-based communities are happy to help families afford braces. Check with a local social worker or volunteer organization.
Affording braces, not to mention wearing them, is sometimes challenging, both for kids and their parents. But the rewards make the expense and effort worthwhile. Who knows? Your child may even look back on the experience with a smile.
About the Author
Dr. Amin Mason is a proud member of the American Orthodontics Association and the founder of Polaris Dentistry. Dr. Amin enjoys traveling, fitness activities, and trying out his budding culinary skills. You can reach his office online or by calling (614) 781-6990.