Orthodontic treatment is a pivotal aspect of dental care, particularly for children. Choosing braces is not just about achieving straight teeth; it’s about fostering good oral health and confidence in one’s appearance. Understanding the different types of braces, the best time to start treatment, and the care required during the treatment can significantly impact a child’s life. This blog explores the nuances of orthodontic braces, focusing on braces for kids, and guides navigating the journey towards a healthier, more beautiful smile.

Understanding the Need for Braces in Children

The primary reason children might need braces is to correct irregularities in their teeth and jaws. This could include issues like crooked teeth, overcrowded teeth, overbites, underbites, and the aesthetic alignment of their permanent teeth. An early assessment by a dentist is crucial as it can prevent more severe issues later on.

When to Start Orthodontic Treatment

braces for kids checkThe best time to begin orthodontic treatment largely depends on the individual development of the child’s teeth. Most dentists agree that the presence of both baby and adult teeth (mixed dentition phase) is a critical window for intervention. This phase typically begins around age six to nine. Early intervention can guide the correct positioning of emerging adult teeth and manage the width of the upper and lower dental arches.

The Australian Society of Dentists recommends that children have their first check-up with a dentist no later than age 7. This allows the dentist to evaluate the child’s existing and incoming teeth and plan any necessary treatment.

Types of Braces for Kids

When it comes to orthodontic treatment for kids, there are several options available, each with its advantages and considerations:

  1. Traditional metal braces are the most basic type, known for their effectiveness in treating many teeth alignment issues. They comprise copper metal brackets and visible wires, which is often what most people think of when they consider orthodontic treatment.
  2. Ceramic Braces: Identical to traditional metal braces in design, ceramic braces use tooth-coloured or transparent brackets that merge more naturally with the teeth, making them less noticeable.
  3. Lingual Braces: One of the more discreet options, lingual braces are adjusted to the back of the teeth. They are invisible from the front but can be more complicated to clean and may initially affect speech.
  4. Invisible Braces: Typically used for less complex issues, invisible braces (clear aligners) are removable and almost unnoticeable when worn. They are famous among older children and teenagers who are conscious about the appearance of braces.

Caring for Braces

When it comes to orthodontic procedures, the decision to wear braces is a significant one for children and their parents alike. Ensuring proper care is taken while wearing braces is vital for the success of the treatment and for maintaining oral health. Here, we delve into the essentials of caring for braces, focusing on conventional metal braces, a common choice for many families.

Importance of Oral Hygiene

One of the first aspects of caring for braces involves rigorous oral hygiene. Wearing braces introduces numerous tiny spaces where food particles and plaque can accumulate. If not meticulously cleaned, these deposits can cause tooth decay, gum disease, and even tooth staining. Therefore, children wearing braces must adopt a more comprehensive oral hygiene routine.

The basic recommendation is to brush your teeth after every meal and snack. This reduces the risk of plaque buildup around the brackets and wires of metal braces. Children should use a soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head to easily navigate the braces. An interdental brush is also essential, as it helps to clean underneath and around the wires and brackets.

Flossing daily is equally important, although it can be more challenging with braces. A floss threader or orthodontic floss can make this task easier, enabling the floss to get under the wires of the braces to remove trapped debris between the teeth and along the gum line.

Diet and Food Choices

Another crucial aspect of caring for braces involves making appropriate dietary choices. Certain foods can damage braces components like brackets and wires or become trapped, increasing the risk of dental issues. Here are the general guidelines:

  • Avoid sticky foods: Items such as caramel, chewing gum, and gummy candies can stick to braces and pull at the brackets.
  • Stay away from hard foods: Hard foods, such as nuts, ice, and hard candies, can break or deteriorate the wires and brackets of conventional metal braces.
  • Limit sugary and starchy foods: Consuming excessive amounts of sugary or starchy foods can cause plaque buildup, which elevates the danger of tooth decay and gum problems.

Children wearing braces should opt for softer foods that are convenient to chew and less likely to cause damage or become caught in the braces. Examples include yoghurt, soft fruits, vegetables, pasta, and soft-cooked rice.

Dealing with Discomfort

braces-for-kids-consultationWearing braces can often be uncomfortable, especially after adjustments when the braces are tightened. This discomfort usually subsides within a few days but can be managed with several strategies:

  • Use of oral analgesics: Over-the-counter pain relievers can be used according to your dentist’s advice to alleviate pain.
  • Soft foods: Eating soft foods can reduce the strain and discomfort in the days following an adjustment.
  • Orthodontic wax: Applying orthodontic wax to areas of the braces can help soothe sore gums and protect the inside of the mouth.

Regular Orthodontic Visits

Adherence to scheduled orthodontic appointments is essential for adjusting braces and monitoring progress. These adjustments are crucial as they help to move the teeth into the desired position gradually. Missing appointments can delay the treatment and give the child time to wear braces.

During these visits, the dentist will also check the braces for damage and ensure that the treatment plan is on track. This is an excellent opportunity for parents and children to discuss any concerns they may have about the braces’ care or the child’s comfort.

Education and Support

Supporting a child in managing their orthodontic treatment involves continuous education and encouragement. Parents should ensure that children understand the importance of taking care of their braces and their impact on the success of their treatment plan.

Educational resources such as brochures, videos, and tutorials provided by orthodontic offices can help children learn about proper brushing and flossing techniques. Support groups or online forums can offer tips and encouragement from other parents and children going through similar experiences.



The Impact of Orthodontic Treatment on Children

Orthodontic treatment, particularly through orthodontic appliances like fixed braces, has a profound impact on children, both in terms of their physical dental health and overall psychological well-being. Understanding these impacts can help parents and caregivers support their children through straightening teeth and managing the responsibilities of wearing braces.

Physical Health Benefits

The major aim of orthodontic treatment is to fix dental irregularities, which enhances the appearance of a child’s smile and contributes significantly to their oral health. Straightening teeth through orthodontic appliances can improve chewing, which is essential for good digestion and proper nutrition. Properly aligned teeth are also convenient to clean, reducing the risk of cavities and gum diseases.

Misaligned teeth can cause extra stress on the jaw muscles and joints, which can lead to complications such as TMJ disorders over time. Orthodontic treatment with fixed braces helps align the teeth and distribute biting pressure evenly, reducing strain on the jaw and contributing to a healthier oral cavity.

Psychological and Social Benefits

The psychological impact of orthodontic treatment on children is equally significant. Crooked or improper teeth can be a source of self-consciousness and social anxiety for many children. Thus, straightening teeth can play a crucial role in improving a child’s self-esteem and confidence. As children see improvements in their smiles, they often become more outgoing and comfortable in social situations.

However, the journey can be challenging. Initially, the decision to wear braces depends on various factors, including the severity of tooth misalignment, the child’s age, and overall dental health. Once the treatment begins, children may face difficulties such as discomfort from braces adjustments and the need for meticulous oral hygiene. During this period, parental support and understanding are crucial to help children adapt and persevere through treatment.

Educational Aspect

braces for kids metalOrthodontic treatment can also be a valuable educational experience for children. It teaches them the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene practices, a discipline that can benefit their dental health for a lifetime. Learning how to care for their braces and how braces work to straighten their teeth can also spark interest in dental health and care among young individuals.

Moreover, the discipline required during orthodontic treatment often translates to other areas of life, teaching children the values of patience and commitment. Although challenging, the journey can help instil a sense of responsibility in children as they take an active role in managing their treatment, from regular brushing and flossing to attending orthodontic appointments.

Long-Term Outcomes

The benefits of orthodontic treatment extend well beyond the immediate or visible outcomes. Properly aligned teeth and a fixed bite can prevent various health issues later in life, including abnormal wear of tooth surfaces, chewing and digestive difficulties, and high stress on gum tissue and the bone that anchors the teeth. Thus, the impact of orthodontic treatment during childhood is long-lasting, providing benefits well into adulthood.


Orthodontic treatment, such as braces for kids, is crucial to your child’s health and well-being. With various treatment options available, including traditional metal braces, ceramic braces, and invisible braces, there is a solution that can suit every need and lifestyle.

Choosing to embark on this journey with a registered dentist ensures that your child will receive the highest standard of care. Remember, orthodontic treatment aims to achieve straight teeth and lay the foundation for a lifetime of beautiful smiles.

Is your child ready for orthodontic treatment? Contact Available Dental Care at (02) 4601 3828 today to schedule an appointment with one of our expert dentists. Let us help you give your child the gift of a beautiful and healthy smile that will last a lifetime!




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