If you had braces as a child, you might have heard the nicknames “Brace Face. Metal Mouth. Tinsel Teeth. Train Tracks.” Here’s hoping it didn’t scar you for life since you ended up with a straight, beautiful smile. No matter your childhood experience, it can be daunting to think about getting orthodontic treatment for our own children.
You’ll be glad to know that while some things in orthodontia have stayed the same (If it works, stick with it, right?), many treatments have improved over time. Not only that, more options are available to our kids! Still, how do we know what’s best?
Here at CMC, we went straight to the experts. (We’re moms. We don’t hesitate to ask for directions!) Dr. Jacob Stadiem of Northeast Orthodontic Specialists answered some of the most common questions parents have about improving their children’s smiles.
How do I know if my child needs braces?
If my kids’ teeth aren’t crooked, do they need braces? Are there other reasons to get braces?
Dr. Stadiem told us he focuses on two separate issues – the esthetic (how the teeth look) and functional (how they work) issues. Most often, people notice the esthetic issues like crooked teeth, but the functional issues are not as obvious, at least in the short-term.
For example, a “deep bite” is a functional issue that will cause significant wear to the front teeth over time. It may not look esthetically poor when you’re young, but as an adult you would notice the wear. It’s much easier to correct this issue when you are young to prevent wear in the future.
There are many other functional issues that may not be noticeable to the untrained eye, but that’s why the experts are so important!
Do braces repair bite issues?
Orthodontic treatment can help correct many bite issues. The docs at Northeast Orthodontic Specialists work closely with your pediatric or general dentist to make sure you are set up for long-term success!
Do they have to have a mouth full of metal?
My teen is sensitive about the look of braces. What options do we have? And are they as effective? Or covered by insurance?
Northeast Orthodontic Specialists offers several less noticeable options for your teens!
Just like with braces, the length of treatment varies based on the complexity of the cases. Minor cases could be six months or less and the more difficult cases could take two years or more. Compliance plays a large role in how quickly treatment gets done. Compliance includes wearing aligners the correct amount of time, wearing rubber bands if prescribed, and exhibiting excellent oral hygiene!
The goal is always to get you done in the shortest amount of time with the best result!
Do kids still change their band colors? Is that still a thing?
Absolutely! There are still lots of options for band colors on braces. Many kids love to show school spirit or get festive for different holidays! Of course, your kiddos can still choose not to have band colors if they don’t want them to stand out as much. Luckily, they have options!
Do I really even need an orthodontist?
With all the online “smile straightening” resources in our newsfeeds, why use an orthodontist?
- When orthodontic treatment isn’t done carefully, there can be disastrous effects. Many direct-to-consumer aligner companies don’t consider a person’s bite. This is a vital part of keeping your teeth healthy long term! Dr. Stadiem went to school for 10.5 years to become an orthodontist. Of that 10.5 years, 4 years were spent in dental school and 2.5 in an orthodontic residency. If orthodontic treatment could be done as easily as they make it seem, these residencies wouldn’t exist.
- On top of the negative effects you might experience from improper care, if something goes wrong it’s tough for your local orthodontist to help if you’re using a direct-to- consumer company. At Northeast Orthodontic Specialists, patients are like family. They take great pride in providing excellent customer service AND excellent orthodontic treatment.
What price range am I looking at for braces? Is it more if they’re on longer?
The price of orthodontic treatment can vary depending on a few major factors, the first being how complex the case is. A six-month treatment to straighten a few teeth is going to cost much less than a two-year treatment where they’re working to correct a challenging bite issue.
As CMC mom Jen said, “My son started with braces in the fifth grade and finally had them removed at the end of eighth grade. He had a cross bite and several other issues to fix. It was a long haul, but worth the effort!”
Another factor to consider is coverage of orthodontic treatment with your insurance. At Northeast Orthodontic Specialists, they accept many insurances to help make the cost more manageable for our patients. You can also choose a lower down payment and/or in office financing to make it easier on your wallet.
Once I’ve fixed my kid’s teeth, then what?
I had braces as a kid and my teeth shifted in adulthood. Can anything be done when they are young to “secure the investment”?
- Retention, retention, retention. Wear the retainers! Depending on your unique case, your orthodontist may cut down the time to wear the retainers, but research studies have proven that no matter how old you are, your teeth will always want to move.
- Several types of retention are available. If there is crowding in the front teeth, the first line of defense is a fixed wire retainer on the back of the teeth. The other type of retainers are removable and are usually just worn at night. No matter what kind of retainer you have, at Northeast Orthodontic Specialists you are a patient for life, so they are happy to fix any type of retainer when they break or wear out!
Do you have questions about your child’s orthodontic care? Visit Northeast Orthodontic Specialists website or call one of their two locations!