Braces for Kids in Atlanta, GA
If making your child feel comfortable in the orthodontist’s chair is as important to you as getting his or her teeth and bite straightened out, then iClear Orthodontics is the right place for you. Board-certified orthodontists Dr. Ruchir Patel and Dr. Kal Thakkar are known throughout Atlanta for creating a family-friendly atmosphere in their Alpharetta, Roswell, and Kennesaw offices.
Why Does My Child Need Braces?
Your dentist may recommend that your child visit an orthodontist for evaluation, or you may notice that your child’s teeth do not look like they are coming in properly. Braces may be the solution.
The signs of malocclusion, a Greek term for “bad bite,” can range from mild to severe. Alignment and bite issues arise from a variety of sources including genetic predisposition, premature tooth loss due to trauma or cavities and oral habits, such as thumb sucking or pacifiers.
When children are very young, malocclusion is typically cosmetic. As children get older, however, crooked teeth and a misaligned bite can cause a number of dental health problems, including cavities, gum disease, and TMJ.
Braces are typically recommended for children who have:
- Gaps or spaces between their teeth
- Crooked teeth
- Crowded teeth
- Open bite
Dr. Patel and Dr. Thakkar are the best resources for determining whether your child needs braces and, if so, when.
What Causes Malocclusion?
There are many reasons why children have irregular bites or crooked teeth, with genetics being the most common cause. Children inherit traits, such as mismatched jaw size and tooth irregularities. Children can have teeth that fail to erupt or have teeth that erupt in the wrong place, simply because of the way they are predisposed.
Oral habits, including thumb sucking, finger-sucking, and pacifier use can cause malocclusion as well. The habits put pressure on teeth, moving them out of place.
Premature tooth loss can cause teeth to drift into an empty space, creating misalignment and a poor bite. The most common causes are trauma due to sports injuries and accidents. Empty spaces left by teeth pulled due to cavities are also a culprit.
When Should My Child Get Braces?
There is no hard rule on when braces are appropriate for children. The decision is made on a case-by-case basis depending upon criteria, such as the number of permanent teeth present and the severity of the malocclusion.
Some children as young as seven years old have braces. In these cases, the orthodontist has decided early intervention will make it easier to fix orthodontic issues. Younger kids have soft bones, so their jaws are easy to manipulate into position. Treatment time is shorter for younger children than for older children because they grow faster. Many times, but not always, children who get braces at a young age will have a second phase when they are older.
If you have waited to seek an orthodontist’s opinion until your child is older, do not be concerned. Braces are commonly used on teenagers who have all of their permanent teeth.
The First Orthodontic Visit
At iClear Orthodontics, spending time with children is our favorite part of the job. Magic tricks and sports talk during appointments are the norm.
During your child’s first visit, you will have the opportunity to discuss any questions or concerns you have about your child’s teeth and bite, including any speech issues, chewing problems or habits that affect your child’s teeth, such as thumb sucking.
Dr. Patel and Dr. Thakkar will do a full examination of your child’s teeth, gums and jaws. They will also take X-rays and use the iTero® Element™ or 3M™ True Definition impression systems to make a three-dimensional model of your child’s teeth. All of the information will be used together to recommend a treatment plan, including all necessary appliances, timing, and removal of baby teeth if necessary.
Types of Braces for Children
Although each type of braces has different advantages, the basic premise behind how braces work is the same. Regardless of what type of braces you select for your child, a small amount of pressure is placed on the teeth to move them into place.
Most children get traditional metal braces composed of brackets and thin wires. Many times, colored rubber bands are used to add extra tension to particular areas. In these cases, your child will get to select the colors, which helps to make the process fun. Most kids enjoy matching their colors to particular holidays, occasions or even sports teams.
If your child wants to camouflage his or her braces, clear or white ceramic braces may be an option. Lingual braces that are applied to the back of the teeth so they cannot be seen may also be an alternative, but are not ideal for all children because the brackets may not fit behind small teeth.
Invisalign® aligners are becoming very popular because they are clear and removable. Unfortunately, Invisalign® is not recommended for children.
How Long Will My Child’s Braces Stay On?
Most, but not all, children wear braces for one to three years. The length of time your child will have to wear braces varies based on factors, such as how quickly your child grows and the severity of the malocclusion. It also depends on how well your child cooperates. Rubber bands need to be worn, and certain foods need to be avoided to keep the braces intact. Dr. Patel and Dr. Thakkar will give you a good estimate during your child’s consultation.
After your child’s braces are removed, he or she must wear a retainer. The retainer will prevent your child’s teeth from reverting back to their original positions after the braces have been removed. The retainers are removable and are usually worn at night while your child is sleeping.
Caring for Children’s Braces
Brushing and flossing well are especially important when children wear braces to avoid cavities. Because cleaning underwires and around brackets can be tricky, Dr. Patel and Dr. Thakkar may recommend using a Waterpik® and special flosser that slides easily beneath the wires.
You will also be given a list of foods that should be avoided. The list will include items that can loosen your child’s brackets or break his or her wires.
If a bracket falls off or wire breaks, contact iClear Orthodontics right away. We will schedule an appointment for the repair.
How Much Do Braces for Kids Cost in Atlanta, GA?
Paying for children’s braces is often a concern for parents, especially if they have more than one child. During your consultation, you will receive all the necessary financial information before you decide to proceed with treatment. To ensure that children receive the treatment they need, iClear Orthodontics does everything possible to make the cost of braces affordable.
The cost of children’s braces treatment varies based on the severity of the malocclusion, the length of treatment, whether any additional devices are required and other factors.
Dental insurance sometimes covers a portion or the full cost of children and teen braces, so it is important to check your policy’s coverage. If you have Flexible Spending Account dollars available through your employer, your pre-tax dollars can be applied to the cost of children and teen braces.
To give all patients access to quality orthodontic treatment, iClear Orthodontics offers many payment plans to help make braces more affordable. iClear Orthodontics offers interest-free in-house financing , which divides the total cost of treatment into reasonable monthly payments for the duration of your treatment.
Options also exist to extend payments beyond your treatment period. In addition to traditional credit cards, iClear Orthodontics accepts CareCredit® cards that extend financing up to 60 months with a reduced APR and fixed monthly payments. Customizable OrthoFi is available to design a flexible payment plan. With OrthoFi, you are able to select the down payment and ongoing monthly payment amounts.
Some orthodontic problems are easier to correct at a younger age. If you live in the Greater Atlanta area and your child needs an evaluation, visit Dr. Ruchir Patel and Dr. Kal Thakkar at iClear Orthodontics conveniently located in Alpharetta, Roswell, and Kennesaw.