What To Expect If Your Child Is Getting Braces

If your child's dentist has suggested that he or she have braces to straighten crooked teeth or adjust an overbite, you both may be wondering what's ahead. Getting and wearing braces can be a lengthy process, so knowing what it entails can help take some of the uncertainty and anxiety out of the process. Here's a look at the six primary care steps you can expect when you're referred to an orthodontist.

Initial Evaluation

The very first visit to an orthodontist is the initial evaluation. A professional orthodontist, like those at Boland Orthodontics, assesses the information from the dentist and looks at your child's teeth to determine if he or she actually needs braces. If your child does need braces, then the orthodontist needs to assess whether or not it's the right time to do the work. Some of the things that come into consideration include the development of your child's jaw, the amount of room in his or her mouth and the current alignment of the teeth. Some kids won't be ready for braces yet, and if that's the case, your child will have to come back for a follow-up after further jaw development.

Record Development

During the orthodontic records appointment, the orthodontist develops a formal treatment plan for your child. The orthodontist will take x-rays of your child's mouth, may take impressions of the teeth, and will then build a diagnostic treatment model to show you what he or she intends to do to help your child's teeth.

Applying Separators

Once the plan is developed and the models are created, the orthodontist will meet with you again to present the information. This appointment usually occurs between one and two weeks before the actual application of the braces. During this appointment, you'll choose the braces that your child will receive from the options available. Once you've chosen them, the orthodontist will place separators between the back teeth to make room for the braces to fit.

Placing the Braces

The next stage of treatment with the orthodontist is placing the actual braces. The braces are applied using dental bonding material. It's a straightforward appointment that usually occurs right in the orthodontist's office. Just plan for a couple of hours that day, because it can take some time.

Adjusting the Wires

The wires on braces must be adjusted periodically as the treatment progresses. This is part of the process to gradually shift the tooth placement. During these appointments, the orthodontist will also change the elastic bands.

Evaluating the Retainer

Once your child's braces are removed, you'll have to spend some time visiting the orthodontist to evaluate the retainer placement and condition of the teeth. These appointments ensure that the retainer is being worn correctly for the proper benefit. The retainer period is essential, because it helps to keep the teeth from shifting back when the braces are removed. The period of retainer wear will vary from child to child, so talk to the orthodontist about how long your child will need it.