As kids transition from baby and childhood to their tween and teen years, many metro parents have questions (and dollar signs) swirling in their minds about one common topic: orthodontics. Bracing for braces can feel daunting and overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be a source of anxiety with advance preparation and knowledge. Dr. Katelyn Blanchard, Oklahoma City Dental Depot orthodontist, answers common parent questions about orthodontic care:
- When should my child have their first consultation with an orthodontist? The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) and the American Dental Association (ADA) recommend that children be screened by an orthodontist at age 7. There are several potential orthodontic issues that can be prevented through minor intervention. This does not mean all 7 year olds need braces or orthodontic treatment, but it is important that you establish care with your orthodontist around that age.
- What signs and symptoms should I be looking for that indicate my child will need braces? Many people who need braces also have pretty significant tooth alignment issues or visually crooked teeth. However, some issues such as an excessive overbite, a cross bite or impacted teeth would be very difficult to know about without seeing an orthodontist for an evaluation. Additionally, this early visit will allow you and your child’s orthodontist to establish a baseline of how your child’s smile is developing so you know what to look for as your child loses their baby teeth and their permanent teeth come in.
- I’ve heard of kids needing two sets of braces, one at a young age and then again as a teen. When is that necessary? There are different theories on this. Some orthodontists are more hesitant to put patients in ortho prior to being ready for comprehensive treatment or a full set of braces. There are situations that do warrant early treatment, however, some of which include: a cross bite causing tooth damage or gum recession; front teeth that are at risk for trauma due to an open bite, or the instance of lips unable to close over teeth to protect them. Most orthodontists will try to wait to do treatment all in one phase if they can.
- How much should I expect to pay and how can I budget for orthodontic treatment? It really depends a lot on your dental insurance. Make sure you choose the best dental plan with your HR department that will cover a large chunk of the fee for orthodontics, especially if you have been going to see the orthodontist and know that your child is almost ready for orthodontic treatment. However, even without orthodontic coverage on your dental insurance, most orthodontic offices are equipped to finance the cost of treatment at 0 percent interest. In Oklahoma, the average total cost of orthodontic treatment (typically 1½ to 3 years of treatment time) will range from $3,000 to $6,000 depending on the estimated length and difficulty level of the case. This estimate can also change depending on which type of orthodontic treatment you choose, such as traditional braces versus Invisalign treatment. Some practices, like Dental Depot, do not charge for consultations.
- How can I help my child take care of their braces, and what do I do if they experience a lot of pain or something breaks? Make sure brushing their teeth is part of their routine from a very young age! Never let them go to bed without brushing their teeth. The ADA recommends everyone brush their teeth twice a day for two minutes at a time and floss once daily. For orthodontic patients, this is especially important, and they may need to brush and floss more frequently. Parents should occasionally supervise brushing and flossing to make sure your child is being thorough. If they experience pain or something breaks, it is very rarely an actual emergency. Orthodontic wax can smooth over pokey wires until you are able to bring your child into the orthodontist. Always call your orthodontist’s office as soon as possible if something doesn’t seem right.
About Dental Depot
Dental Depot’s newest Oklahoma City location on Northwest Expressway at 63rd Street offers comprehensive dental care for the entire family, including full-service general dentistry, dental hygiene and state-of-the-art orthodontics. Flexible appointment times are available Monday through Saturday, with same-day emergency appointments available, too. SoonerCare, most major insurances and cash pay are all accepted. Dental Depot is an Oklahoma-based company providing convenience, affordability and quality dental care, as well as support of various metro nonprofit organizations, for more than 40 years. Visit dentaldepot.net for more information and to make an appointment.
Written in conjunction with Shelby Wyatt