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The Ultimate Guide to Braces for Kids

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Braces are a great way to straighten the teeth and improve your child’s smile. In fact, many kids are referred to orthodontists at an early age. Some of these children have crooked teeth that need to be correctly aligned with braces. Other kids have teeth that are not in the best position or have other issues that require correction by orthodontics.

While braces are a safe and effective way to fix your child’s dental problems, you may be wondering what to look for when finding the right braces? Here’s all you need to know before getting braces for your child.

What is the Right Age for Braces?

There is no right age for acquiring braces, but the best time to start treatment is early. Braces can take up to two years to complete, so getting treatment as soon as possible is essential. So, when can kids get braces?

There are many factors to consider before deciding when your child is ready for braces. For example, the condition of a child’s teeth can also influence how early they will need the treatment.

What is the Right Age for Braces

At what age can your children get kids braces? Well, most orthodontists agree that kids should start braces around age seven. In fact, The American Academy of Orthodontists recommends that children see an orthodontist at the age of seven for an evaluation to determine whether they will need braces or not.

If your child is younger than seven, they may be better off with alternatives to braces like headgear during the early years. Your orthodontist may opt for an interceptive approach for some young children who may benefit from treatment as early as four or five.

Braces are most effective when they’re worn as long as possible. The best time to start treatment is early. The sooner braces are put on, the longer they can last and the more likely they’ll be effective. If you’re considering getting kids braces, it’s best to go ahead and get them now rather than wait until he’s older.

Signs Your Kids Need Braces

There are a lot of reasons why kids need braces. Orthodontic care for your child is more than just correcting crooked, crowded teeth using braces. Orthodontists take care of other issues that impact psychological and emotional health, not just oral health.

Let’s start by talking about the signs you should look out for to determine whether your kid might need braces.

Overcrowded bites are one of the most common problems with teeth requiring braces. If your child’s front teeth are touching or overlapping, meaning there’s too little room between the teeth, it implies that they can have problems chewing and eating and might need to wear braces.

Grinding or clenching is something that happens when a person clenches their teeth during sleep or while they’re awake. It can lead to problems with cavities and gum disease, and it can cause wear on the enamel of your child’s teeth — especially if they’re still developing their jaws and gums.

This could mean that your child has crowded wisdom teeth behind those front ones, which can cause crowding and issues with chewing and grinding.

The Benefits of Braces for Kids

Kids braces are a standard treatment option for children with various orthodontic problems. They can affect your child’s appearance but also provide numerous important benefits. Here are some benefits that childrens braces bring:

Improved Oral Health

Aside from straightening the teeth, braces will also impact your child’s oral health. Crooked teeth, for example, are often difficult to brush and maintain cleanliness. On the other hand, a child who has straight teeth will find it easier to brush regularly. The kids will, in turn, reduce their risk of cavities and other oral problems.

Improved Appearance

Your child will look more confident with braces on his teeth instead of having an uncomfortable smile that makes him look unkempt or unattractive.

Improved Speech

Misaligned teeth or other orthodontic issues can cause speech problems in the future.

If your child has misaligned teeth, they may not be able to pronounce all the words correctly or may develop a lisp, whistle, or other speech problems. Their speech will improve significantly with straightened teeth and removing any gaps.

With any speech impairments, there is also the likelihood of developing low self-esteem issues in a desire to fit in with the rest of the peers. A better smile can help improve speech and confidence in many situations, such as school presentations.

Improved Bite

How your child chews their food can be affected by poor alignment or crowding teeth. This can lead to dental decay and gum disease problems, which seriously affect oral health. Some children may even avoid eating to prevent jaw pain, which may lead to malnutrition.

How Much do Braces Cost for Kids?

The cost of braces for kids varies widely, depending on the type of treatment (metal, plastic, or ceramic), where you live, and the type of dental insurance you have.

Take note that not all orthodontists are experts in each kind of braces. Depending on what your child needs, your choices will significantly influence the total costs of braces.

How much braces cost a month will also depend on which bracket you choose. The most expensive option is ceramic braces, which have a smooth surface that can last for a long time. This option is also more challenging to maintain than other types of braces because it requires periodic cleaning and polishing to keep it looking good.
Plastic brackets offer the best value because they are less expensive than ceramic braces and require less maintenance.

If you have insurance through your employer or another source (like Medicare), the price will be much lower than the average. However, if it’s not included in your plan, you may still be able to find a way to pay using some of the best dental insurance with orthodontics.

Where you also live greatly determines what you will be charged. Costs are higher in bigger cities than in small towns and rural areas.

It is advisable that children are fitted with braces after they have lost their baby teeth, usually after 12 years and their molars have erupted. If you find asking yourself questions like ‘how much are braces for 13-year-olds’, you’ll be happy to know that the cost will be relatively affordable since the child will be fitted with braces for a shorter treatment period.

So, exactly how much do braces cost for kids? In general, the cost of braces will be determined by many factors and vary from one area to another. Metal braces cost about $2,000 to $3,500 per side, while ceramic childrens braces can run as high as $5,000 per side. Invisible braces cost between $5,000 and $7,500. However, some brands may cost up to $10,000 depending on the severity of the condition.

Cost of Braces by Type

TYPE OF BRACESApproximate Cost (US $)
Metal2,500 - 7,000
Ceramic3,500 - 8,000
Lingual8,000 - 13,000
Invisalign4,000 - 7,400

What Are the Best Types of Braces for Kids?

Braces for kids come in many different forms. Here are the top different kinds of braces to consider:

Ceramic Braces for Kids

creamic braces for kids

Ceramic kids braces will use tooth-colored or clear brackets and blend in with the teeth, hence less noticeable than metal. They, therefore, might offer more discretion.

They are very strong and generally do not stain.

Invisalign for Kids

invisalign braces for kids

Invisalign is the most popular type of orthodontic treatment for kids, which does not use a brackets system. It’s an invisible appliance (clear plastic molds) that moves teeth into proper alignment through a series of small, gradual shifts in how they align with each other and their neighboring teeth. The result is a straighter smile.

When getting Invisalign for kids, you need to ensure they are worn for longer to notice effective progress and are better placed for teeth that are not severely aligned.

When comparing Invisalign vs braces prices, the invisible braces cost slightly higher compared to traditional metal brackets. According to the Consumer Guide for Dentistry, the national average for Invisalign is $3,000–$5,000, compared to $2,000–$6,000 for metal braces.

Metal Braces for Kids

metal braces for kids

Metal braces are still highly valued in the orthodontic world, despite new products coming into the market. Metal braces have strong steel ties which hold the brackets and now come even smaller and more polished than before.

They are still the most popular braces available everywhere, cost less than other braces, and work quickly. However, they are more noticeable due to the metal brackets and wires. Metal braces can be personalized with different color bands.

Lingual Braces for Kids

lingual braces for kids

These types of braces are placed behind the teeth, which hides them from view, offering discretion. They are also more costly than metal or ceramic braces.

Self-ligating Kids Braces

Close up of a mouth with braces.

Self-ligating braces are made out of either metal or ceramic. Clear self-ligating braces are a revolutionary system that combines efficient tooth movement with a nearly invisible look. These braces don’t require a rubber band as they now use a small clip instead.

You ought to be careful not to invest your money in fake braces for kids, as those are only used for cosmetic purposes and not necessarily to treat any underlying dental concerns.

How to Find a Children's Orthodontist?

Find a children’s orthodontist through your local directory or check for recommendations from other parents or your kid’s school. There is a higher likelihood that parents with older kids will have experience with a dentist close to them.

It is easier to work with an orthodontist close to you, bearing in mind that you will have regular appointments for a check-up and braces adjustments.
While searching for the ‘best-rated orthodontist near me’, also consider that some will specialize in certain types of braces. Consider other factors such as the cost of braces and those that offer a payment plan.

Final Thoughts

Braces offer many benefits to your child, from improving oral health to achieving a favorable smile that will last a lifetime.

There are many types of childrens braces in the market, starting with the most common metal braces, self-ligating braces, ceramic braces, and even Invisalign braces.

Depending on what you are looking for, the child’s teeth alignment condition, and what the orthodontist will recommend for your child.

Choose braces that will allow your child to eat and use comfortably, will be durable, and will change the appearance of your child’s teeth during the treatment.


How Long Do Braces Take to Straighten Teeth?

Braces treatment varies from one person to another, depending on how aligned the teeth are. Some kids may have braces for two years, while others may take as long as three years.

Consult your orthodontist to determine how long your child will need to wear braces.

Is Your Child Eligible for Braces in The US?

Depending on your family’s income status, your child may be eligible for Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or a state-sponsored insurance program; the state government may pay for your children’s braces.

You may need authorization first before getting treatment.

Will Insurance Cover Braces for My Child?

Some insurance policies will cover the cost of your child’s orthodontic care. It is important to find out if your policy will contribute part of the cost of braces for your child.

Will Braces Change My Child's Face?

Braces change the shape of the face since they alter the position and height of the teeth and impact the rest of your child’s face. However, this may only happen if treating severe dental flaws.


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