Does your child need braces?

Worried your child might need braces?

Imola Foster from Gold Coast Dental and Denture Centre shares her tips on what to expect and what to look out for.

Not everyone is born with a perfect smile. Unfortunately for many children braces are inevitable.

Thankfully, braces have come a long way in recent years, with smaller wires and clear options.

Children can need braces for any number of reasons, for example, crooked, overlapping, overcrowded teeth, or a ‘bad bite’ (known as malocclusion).

Malocclusion is when the top and bottom jaws are different sizes when they come together.

Sometimes tooth and jaw problems can be caused by losing baby teeth too soon, accidents, or habits such as thumb sucking, or using a pacifier over the age of two.

Often, your child’s dentist will be the first to notice a problem and recommend that you see an orthodontist (a dentist who specialises in correcting jaw and/or teeth alignment problems). The orthodontist will decide whether your child needs braces.

There are ways to prevent or minimise the need for braces from an early age. Seek advice from an oral myologist or oral health therapist, who is trained to assess and help with myofunctional therapy for young children’s oral development. Things such as early cessation of pacifier use, stopping thumb sucking, correcting oral postures, creating good oral habits, checking for open mouth posture and mouth breathing and providing therapy for these.

Good jaw development is very important in preventing the need for braces and can be introduced from a very early age. Babies need to have correct oral stimulation so we encourage things like giving the child appropriate chewy toys. open cup drinking and chewing harder foods. As children grow, dental professionals and GPs can assess correct oral postures, good breathing patterns and most importantly, closed lip at rest and correct tongue position in the roof of the mouth, as these soft tissue functions affect our jaw and tooth development.

Braces – the fast facts

  • Children should see an orthodontist once their permanent teeth start coming in, around age 7.
  • Most children get braces between 10 and 14 years old.
  • The average time braces are worn is 18-24 months .
  • The average cost for braces is $5,000.
  • Orthodontic treatment is not covered under Medicare.However, it might be covered under private health insurance, depending on the policy.

Imola Foster is Oral Health Therapist / Oral Myologist at Gold Coast Dental and Denture Centre

Written by kidsonthecoast

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