We see so many kids every month and one of the most common questions that we get from parents is where do we get quality orthodontic care. Braces are primarily used to correct bite issues such as overbites, underbites, or open bites. They also align your child’s smile to make it more aesthetically pleasing and reduce crowding making it easier to clean their teeth to avoid plaque build up and potential cavities.
Beyond straightening teeth that have come in sideways or are crowding others, getting braces is good for the long term health of your kiddo’s teeth and hygiene and can prevent serious problems in the future like TMJ (inflammation surrounding the jaw joint leading to pain, difficulty chewing, and clicking or locking jaw and other symptoms) and poor teeth alignment.
As a part of your child’s regular and routine appointments to the dental office, Dr. Kimberly will let you know of any concerns regarding crowding and crooked teeth as baby teeth are lost and adult teeth start coming in. Even if some teeth start coming in a little crooked, it can take time to determine whether or not orthodontic care, and braces specifically, will be needed to correct any issues.
There is a lot of moving and adjusting happening as teeth are lost and the empty space is filled in. Don’t worry if your child has some gaps present for a time. As your child develops, Dr. Kimberly will be able to advise you on whether braces are needed and when to start treatment.
What is the process of getting braces?
Your child will first meet with the orthodontist for a consultation to discuss the goals for treatment and the plan for how to give them a healthy beautiful smile that will last a lifetime. Next we’ll take pictures of their smile along with x-rays from every side to fully understand current tooth alignment both visible and hidden underneath the gums. These photos and x-rays will let us know how to adjust each tooth and guide the growth as other teeth come in.
What are the types of braces for kids?
Kids’ braces are most commonly what we call “traditional braces” which are the easily recognizable metal braces. A metal bracket is bonded to each tooth, a wire runs through each bracket, and elastic ties hold the wire and bracket together. Your child’s teeth and mouth may be a little sore and uncomfortable the day they get braces, but soon after, they won’t even notice them. The tension on the wire is tightened at each appointment, every 6-8 weeks, so we are straightening their teeth at a steady and sustainable pace. Patients are able to choose the color of the elastic ties each time they are changed to create their own unique braces style. We’ve even seen some kids match their elastic ties to the color of their school uniforms.
Orthodontic technology continues to advance and provide more options. Clear braces, which are ceramic instead of metal, are also available at PKD and are gaining popularity. These are less visible when you smile than those with metal brackets, but are put on and worn the same way.
Another popular alternative to conventional braces is Invisalign, which are actually removable clear aligners that are worn at least 22 hours each day and can be taken out to eat, drink, and brush teeth. We will take impressions of your child’s teeth during their first appointment and then give them a sequence of aligner trays to wear throughout the extent of your child’s treatment on their way to a new smile. Each set of aligners will be worn for a week or two, as directed by the orthodontist, and then they’ll graduate to the next set.
Often the orthodontist will add clear anchors to a few teeth to help the aligners snap in place when they are put in. With its cutting-edge technology, Invisalign has become an easy and effective way to improve the appearance of your child’s teeth and maintain their confidence while you do it; most people will hardly notice that they have braces!
Are there other types of braces?
Which type of braces are more effective?
How long will braces take?
During an early evaluation, if it is determined that your child needs long-term orthodontic treatment, we will begin Phase 1 of braces. This early phase can take from six months to one year. During this phase, the present permanent teeth are moved into proper positioning to allow for other teeth to come in without crowding issues.
Many children can wait until all of their permanent teeth have come in before getting braces. Generally, a full treatment of braces takes anywhere from 18 -24 months. Ocasionally treatment can take longer. This may seem like a long time, but it is important to move teeth incrementally and slowly so that they remain securely attached to your child’s jaw and discomfort is kept to a minimum. As with the starting time, the duration of braces treatment is largely based on your child’s development.
How do I keep my teeth straight after my braces are off?
Your child’s teeth are now perfectly straight, their smile is beautiful, and their braces are coming off! Now what? It’s important to note that just like we shifted all of their teeth into the proper position, they can continue to shift or move back out of position due to eating habits and daily life. This is why after braces are removed, we either place a permanent retainer behind the front top and/or bottom teeth or send you home with plastic Essix retainers to wear every night to keep all of the teeth in position.
A permanent retainer is a small wire that is bonded to the backside of the front four teeth avoiding any undesired shifting once the braces brackets have been removed. You’ll be able to brush your teeth normally, but will need to use one of your braces flossers to floss under the wire and between your front teeth.
Our orthodontist recommends the plastic removable retainers, called Essix retainers, as they make it easier to maintain good dental hygiene with brushing and flossing. There is no wire to maneuver around and cleaning the retainers themselves just takes a simple brushing before and after wearing them every night.
Are there payment plans for braces?
If you think your child or children may need braces, you may have some financial concerns. At Palmetto Kids Dentistry we do offer payment plans to work within your budget and allow for low monthly payments with 0% financing divided into the number of months of treatment needed. We provide options for low down payments and work with our parents to make your child’s braces affordable.
Generally you can cover orthodontic treatment with the family FSA (flexible spending account), while some patients opt for the pay-in-full option which will provide you discounts on the full price of braces.
Does insurance cover the cost for braces?
Many insurance companies will make a one-time payment for necessary orthodontic treatment, but check with your insurance provider so you’re aware if they have an age cut-off or if there is orthodontic insurance coverage for those over eighteen years of age as well. If you have Medicaid, it’s been our experience that Medicaid does not usually pay for braces in Charleston.
Our financial coordinator will help you determine the best financial process for your family’s budget and will walk you through setting up monthly payments, filing insurance paperwork, or paying out of pocket.
If you’re looking for an affordable option for braces in Charleston, South Carolina by orthodontic specialists you can trust, give us a call today to set up your consultation.