For many kids getting braces is a rite of passage. But when is it time for your child's first visit to the orthodontist? Find out in this video.
Anne Ebeling: For many kids getting braces is a rite of passage. Adlie: I think it's very good, I was very happy to hear that I was getting them so I could get my teeth better. Jackie: I got them on in 6th grade, 3 years ago and my sister have them on like 5 years so I was hoping that I would beat her, but I just got it pop out in three years, so I am happy. Anne Ebeling: But when is it time for your child's first visit to the orthodontist? Orthodontist Dr. Elliott Moskiwitz says it's when your child hits between 7 and 8 years old. Dr. Elliott Moskiwitz: At that particular age you can absolutely identify some early developing problems that if left untreated can cause more sever problems that would require more aggressive type of treatment. Anne Ebeling: So how does the doctor determine whether or not your child is candidate for treatment? Dr. Elliott Moskiwitz: There are two parts of it. One of them is what you can see with your eye and that's just a clinical examination. But there is another part that's equally important, that's what you can't see with your eye, and I don't believe that any examination is complete unless a panoramic radiograph is obtained. We look at the aesthetics; we look at individual tooth position. We look at the position of the upper and lower teeth to each other; we also look to see if there is any jaw shifts. Anne Ebeling: If it's determined your child needs braces, there are several options. Of course, there are the traditional braces, less visible ceramic braces, they are nearly invisible and Invisalign system and even braces placed on the backs of teeth called a lingual braces. Dr. Elliott Moskiwitz: The right choice should be primarily on what might work the best, rather than have something on the short run that might be statically pleasing but in the end doesn't give you the right result. Anne Ebeling: Eight year Adlie Toundrus got traditional braces to enhance her smile. Adlie: It's been nice getting them was - I was a little bit scared, but after they started I realized how easy it was going to be, and since I have been coming here more, the more I come the easier it gets. Anne Ebeling: Adlie's mom Debby Toundrus is stranger to braces. Debby: This is second daughter who has gotten braces here. We already had one who went through phase one and it's been terrific. It's not a scary thing. My experience has been that the kids actually love having the braces; they change the colors of the braces all the time, so it's kind of like of fashion accessory. So I don't think you should be scared at all. I think it wasn't a painful experience. Anne Ebeling: Just to make sure to keep them clean. Dr. Elliott Moskiwitz: I think it's very important that parents take the responsibility that braces have been maintained, child is seeing the orthodontist at regular intervals that the appliances and the teeth themselves are kept clean to avoid any of the adverse potential problem. Anne Ebeling: And be careful when eating certain foods. Dr. Elliott Moskiwitz: Many of these foods need to be prepared a little bit for it. For example apple, apple can be eaten, but instead of biting into an apple they should be cut up. Anne Ebeling: Eventually it's time for those braces to come off. Dr. Elliott Moskiwitz: When aesthetics and function and stability factors are satisfied, it's time to take your braces off; it's different for each patient. Anne Ebeling: Fourteen year old Jackie Morgan just got her braces off today after wearing them for 3 years. Jackie: And I can't stop like smiling and rolling my tongue about like I really have them. I guess like sometimes it's kind of annoying like you -- especially like if you are the last one to get it off of all your friends, but it's definitely worth it when you get it off. I just think I really look so much better with the nice straight teeth. Anne Ebeling: And treatment doesn't end right when the braces come off, your child may need either a fixed retainer like this, which goes behind the teeth or a removable retainer like one of these, and follow up appointments are really important to make sure those teeth stay put. Dr. Elliott Moskiwitz: After the braces are taken off and the patient has been given retainers and seen a few visits, after that once or twice a year should be sufficient. Anne Ebeling: To find an Orthodontist in your area, just ask your family dentist or visit the American Association of Orthodontist website at www.braces.org.