What is the process for my child getting braces?
We recommend that you attend with your child for their initial consultation. Our front of house, dental, and nursing teams are all highly experienced with patients of all ages, and will be sure to put your son or daughter at ease, whether they’re an energetic 8-year-old or a nervous older teen. During this first visit your dentist will discuss with both of you any concerns your child is having with their teeth, and also their ideal smile goals.
Photographs, X-rays, and impressions of your child’s teeth will then be taken. This allows the dentist to fully assess how their teeth are developing and to form a detailed orthodontic treatment plan for your child. At this visit we will take the time to answer any questions you or your child may have about their treatment, including a detailed estimate of how long the complete treatment stages should take, and we will also be able to discuss all payment plan options we have available.
Removable Orthodontic Appliances
Early intervention into your child’s orthodontic health can greatly reduce the amount of time, pain, and effort spent correcting issues with tooth positioning, angling, and jaw alignment later in life. Depending on their developmental stage and any emerging issues with incorrect jaw alignment, some children will be required to wear a removable orthodontic appliance (often called a ‘retainer’) in preparation for fixed 'Train Track' braces being placed later on. If your child’s dentist recommends this step it is important not to miss it, or leave it too late, as fixing jaw discrepancies at a later stage is costly, time-intensive, and invasive, with surgical intervention often being the only alternative.
Your child’s removable appliance is custom-made to their mouth from the impressions taken during their initial visit and will be fabricated off-site in our specialist dental laboratory. Your child’s dentist will place the appliance to make sure that it fits, and at this check-up both you and your child will be given clear, detailed instructions on how to properly wear the retainer and keep it clean. Initially when your child begins wearing their appliance, they or you may notice a change to their speech, such as slurring or pronunciation difficulty with certain sounds. This is quite normal to occur temporarily when a patient is new to a wearable appliance, and is nothing to be worried about. After a few days of constant wear these issues will quickly resolve and your child will be able to speak as normal. Most patients between the ages of 8 and 11 will have to wear their removable appliance for about 9 months, and your dentist will advise on this timeline when preparing your child’s treatment plan. It is important to attend for regular visits during this period, to allow your child’s dentist to monitor their progress and record development when using the retainer. These check-ups will be scheduled every 4-6 weeks by your dentist.
Fitting Train Track Braces
Your child’s dentist will monitor their progress with their removable appliance, and in accordance with their treatment plan and jaw and dental development in real-time will advise on the best time to introduce braces into your child’s orthodontic treatment. Conventional Train Track style braces are the most common, effective choice for pre-teens and teenagers at this stage. Once it is indicated your dentist will discuss this stage of the treatment plan with your child and you, and schedule their appointment to have the non-removable braces placed.
There is absolutely no pain associated with the placement of fixed Train Track braces, and no injections or drilling are required at any stage during this appointment. Your child’s dentist will use air and water to clean and dry their teeth before sticking a metal or clear ceramic ‘bracket’ onto each tooth with a special kind of dental glue. These brackets are then linked together with a metal wire, which applies tension to the teeth to encourage them to move into their ideal positions.
Once your child’s braces are securely in place, the dentist will ensure both of you are familiar with the specific care and maintenance instructions for the style of braces chosen, and our front of house team will schedule your child’s first check-up monitoring appointment before you leave the clinic. Your child will be expected to attend for check-ups every 4-6 weeks to allow their progress to be monitored and adjustments to be made to their appliance, as the orthodontic wire will need to be progressively tightened as their teeth begin to move into the correct positions.
It is best to prepare your child for the slight discomfort they may feel in the days following the placement of their new brace – they may find it encouraging to know that this means the treatment is working, as the period immediately following placement and tightening of the braces are when teeth are beginning to move position. Any pain, tenderness, or sensitivity felt at this time should ease after 24 hours and can be safely and effectively managed with age-appropriate over-the-counter pain relief medication.
Whether your child was rocking the braces look or counting down the days until their treatment plan was due to end, their final appointment at the completion of their orthodontic treatment with braces is a momentous occasion. Their dentist will have given them an exact timeframe for the total estimated duration of their treatment during the very first consultation, and when it is time to complete a final review before removing your child’s brace the dentist will schedule this appointment in. Removing the braces will not take long, and once your child’s brace is off and the treatment complete, the dentist will take a final exam and discuss the success of the treatment with your child, answering any questions they may have at this stage, and ensuring they are fully happy with the finished result.
At this point it is often recommended to have a full dental clean to remove any staining that may have built up with wear of the fixed appliance over time, and your child’s dentist will be able to discuss this with you both at this final review. They will also make sure your child is aware of the importance and responsibility of maintaining their newly straightened teeth through excellent oral hygiene habits, as well as explaining any future risks or complications you and your child should be aware of.
All orthodontic treatment comes with the risk that the teeth will return or relapse to their original position, and this risk is heightened for younger finishers of treatment with braces, whose treatment will likely end while their bodies are still growing and developing. To prevent relapse, your dentist in this final review will strongly recommend and go through the procedure of wearing a removable orthodontic retainer every night. Truly also offers a fixed retainer that is permanently bonded to your child’s teeth lingually (meaning to the back of the teeth, out of sight) to reliably stabilise and maintain your child’s new, flawlessly straight teeth over their lifetime.