Parents often wonder if their child will need to have braces fitted. Unless it is very obvious that your child has crowded or misaligned teeth, or spacing the best action is to attend regular dental checkups. If your child needs an evaluation for braces, your dentist will be able to refer your child to an orthodontist for a consultation.
Children can have braces fitted from the age of 7, so attending regular check ups, most likely 6 monthly checkups will ensure a timely referral if an assessment is needed.
There are many options for braces and orthodontics now, including invisible orthodontics and clear aligners, although these are private dentistry treatments. Traditional metal braces are available free of charge on the NHS or National Health Service in the UK.
Depending on the areas of orthodontic concern, braces may be needed on top and bottom teeth combined, or top or bottom teeth only. Your orthodontist will be able to advise, and show models and images of what braces will look like when fitted.
Braces can also fix bite problems, which if left unchecked would cause wear and damage to teeth, pain and joint problems and possibly speech problems.
Having braces is very common for children and teenagers, so there is no need for anyone to feel self conscious about having braces as some friends are likely to be in the same position. Obviously having orthodontic treatment, as with any medical treatment is optional, children and teenagers stand to benefit from treatment.
Many adults, if they choose not to have braces as a child or teenager, will later regret the decision. Simply due to the fact that having braces when you are younger is very common, where as having orthodontic – in particular fixed metal braces as an adult is much less common.
The situation has changed, since Align Tech launched in 1997, with the technology of clear braces which are removable clear aligners. These are virtually invisible and have allowed adults to have a new choice in invisible orthodontics, instead of having to put up with a smile they are unhappy with. If this sounds like you, book a smile assessment with a local practice like SAKS Manchester so you can actually see what your child’s new smile will look like, or your smile as they treat patients of all ages.
Invisalign clear braces are also available for teenagers, so there is now a new level of choice. Although they are removable, they must be worn for 22 hours plus each day as per the treatment plan and to ensure the best results are achieved.
With this goal in mind, Align Tech have added wear indicators on teen clear braces, to encourage and ensure adequate wear time on a daily basis. There is also an app which allows patients to track their progress, see the development of their new smile on a week by week basis and upload photos.
The average length of treatment is 1 – 2 years after which time a retainer will need to be worn for a short or long term period as advised. This can be all the time or at night depending on individual patient needs. Thanks to technology and developments, children and teenagers now have more choices to achieve a great smile.