Everything You Need to Know About Children’s Orthodontics in Austin
Austin, TX – If you have children chances are good you’ve thought about if your child may need orthodontic treatment. Braces are almost a rite of passage in the adolescent years, but what do you as a parent need to know about orthodontic treatment? Dr. Silvana Gonzales is an austin children’s orthodontist, serving patients of all ages in the Austin area. She answers commonly asked questions about children’s orthodontics.
- What is the right age to begin orthodontic treatment? The “right” age to begin orthodontic treatment may be different for every patient. However, the ideal age to visit an orthodontist for the first time is around the age of 7. At this time, children will have started to lose baby teeth, giving the orthodontist an idea of how the smile is taking shape. The orthodontist will be able to also see how the jaw is growing to accommodate the incoming permanent teeth and ensure everything is progressing as it should.
- If my child is past the age of 7, is it too late for treatment? The good news is, it is never too late for orthodontic treatment! Whether you are 7, 27, or even 57 you can still get the smile of your dreams. Beginning treatment at a younger age is ideal because it allows us to work with a jaw that is still growing. We can guide the jaw into a proper growth pattern and thereby alleviate any issues from becoming more serious once the jaw stops growing. However, if your child doesn’t receive treatment until later in the teen years, treatment can still be very successful.
- How does early treatment work? While not every patient will require early interventive orthodontic treatment, for those that do, it can be incredibly beneficial. We call this type of treatment two phase treatment. The first phase involves creating an ideal environment in which permanent teeth can erupt. We can guide the growth of the haw, expand the palatal, or whatever else is needed to ensure when the permanent teeth come in, they have the proper space to do so. Then, we will move on to the straightening phase of treatment. Two phase treatment allows us to begin treatment at the time it will have the most impact and makes the straightening phase easier and more effective.
- My child doesn’t want metal braces – what are the other options? Today’s metal braces aren’t like those of yesterday – they are sleeker and more effective than ever before. However, we know that many adolescents are self-conscious and may not want to draw attention to their smiles while in treatment. There are also clear braces, made of clear or tooth colored material to blend in better with the smile. And many teens love Invisalign Teen – clear, plastic aligners that fit over the teeth. They are almost completely invisible and are removable, so teens don’t have to change their diets or spend extra time brushing and flossing.
- If Invisalign Teen is removable, how can I be sure my teen is wearing the aligners? Invisalign Teen comes with compliance indicators that show the orthodontist if your teen has been wearing the aligners as they should. In order to be effective, the aligners must be worn a minimum of 22 hours a day. We know that sometimes life gets in the way and we can all forget things, so these indicators help us keep our teens on track with their treatment.
- How can I afford orthodontic treatment for my child? Orthodontic treatment is an investment in your child’s oral health. A straighter smile isn’t just more attractive, it is healthier, too. There are several ways to help make orthodontic treatment more affordable. First, if you have dental insurance, you more than likely have coverage for orthodontic treatment. Before choosing a children orthodontist in Austin, be sure the office accepts your insurance. An on-staff financial coordinator can help you get the most of your benefits. Most offices also offer convenient payment plans that can fit into any budget. Everyone deserves a beautiful, healthy and properly functioning smile, and your orthodontist will work with you to help you find a treatment plan and payment option that will fit within your budget.
- Isn’t orthodontics just cosmetic? Orthodontic treatment does create a beautifully straight smile. However, it is much more than just cosmetic. A smile that is crooked or crowded or otherwise misaligned can be harder to take care of. This can lead to decay, cavities and gum diseases. Likewise, a misaligned bite can lead to teeth chipping, cracking or breaking. An investment in your child’s orthodontic treatment can help ensure a lifetime of good oral health.
- How long will my child be in braces? The answer to this varies from patient to patient. Treatment time depends on several factors, such as the method of straightening chosen, the severity of the issue being correcting, and how well the patient’s mouth responds to treatment. Generally, treatment can be expected to last anywhere from 6-36 months.
- Can I tell if my child will need orthodontic treatment? While some instances may be obvious, such as severe crowding or misalignment, other issues may not be able to be immediately seen. An improper bite can occur even if the front teeth appear straight. Likewise, there are some issues that may seem daunting when your child is young but may correct themselves as the child grows. It is always best to have a consultation with an orthodontist to determine if and when treatment may be needed.
- Will wearing braces interfere with my child’s life? Other than making some adjustments to their diet and spending a little extra time on oral care (if your child is in metal braces), orthodontic treatment should not impact their daily life. If your child plays a contact sport it will be important to ensure they wear a mouthguard to protect against injuries.