Your child has had their first orthodontic exam and you’ve gotten the news — It’s time for braces. It’s normal to have some questions and concerns about the process.
The investment, timeline and care are all major factors you may be thinking about as you and your child prepare for their new smile. We had experts weigh in, so you can mark some of these items off of your checklist.
How Much Do Braces Cost?
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), braces in Ohio can cost anywhere from about $1,000 to $7,000. But this cost will depend on several factors.
“Cost varies depending on complexity of the case,” says Dr. Jordan Roth, orthodontist at Fried & Roth Orthodontics in Lyndhurst. “And, whether it’s limited treatment when baby teeth are still present or comprehensive treatment with a full adult dentition.”
For some families, this can be a huge expense, but your insurance may cover some of the bill. “Oftentimes there is an orthodontic insurance benefit with a dental plan that can be applied towards the orthodontic fee,” Roth says.
Finding the Right Fit
You’ll have a handful of options as far as what type of braces or aligners you go with, each with their own set of pros and cons.
“We offer traditional metal braces, ceramic clear braces, 3D printed custom clear braces and Invisalign clear aligners,” Roth says of their practice in Lyndhurst. “An orthodontic exam is the best way to find out which option is best for each patient.”
Getting Braces In
If your kid or teen is a bit anxious about getting their braces, the good news is there really isn’t anything to be nervous about. “Getting braces is a fairly easy process,” says Dr. Scott Cardall, orthodontic specialist and owner of Orem Orthodontics.
“It takes about two hours, and consists of taking an initial x-ray or two, some photos inside and outside the mouth, and laying in a chair for 1-1.5 hours as the braces are placed.”
Cardall adds that this process isn’t painful either, other than the discomfort you might feel from having your mouth held open with a plastic retractor.
Once braces are in, there can be a bit of discomfort for a short time, which Roth says can be managed with Tylenol and orthodontic wax.
Maintaining braces and dental hygiene may be a bit of an adjustment, too. “Mostly, it consists of brushing around the braces adequately and flossing under the wires,” Cardall says.
Additionally, certain foods and drinks will need to be avoided to protect their new braces. “Patients should avoid foods that can damage braces such as ice, nuts, pizza crust, taffy and gum,” Roth says. “These foods can knock off a brace causing treatment time to be extended.”
Roth adds that compliance plays an important role in how long orthodontic treatment is needed, which he says is typically about one to two years for an adolescent. While this might seem like an eternity in kid years, you can help by easing their mind and focusing on the positive side of getting braces.
“Parents should help excite their children,” Roth says, “by telling them how great their final result will be and the confidence it will bring to them.”
At What Age Should Kids Go to the Orthodontist?
Wondering what the best age is to take your child to an orthodontist? The answer might be sooner than you think.
“The American Association of Orthodontists recommends all children be seen for an initial consultation starting at age 7,” Cardall says. “This may sound young, and some dentists don’t know this either and may not refer children over until all their permanent teeth are in.”
According to Cardall, visiting the orthodontist sooner rather than later can help save you time and money in the long-run.
“Unfortunately, orthodontists will commonly see older children too late, and some easy methods of intervention may no longer be available that could have fixed a problem in a better, easier, faster, and cheaper manner.”