Your child’s baby teeth have now been replaced by a new brood of permanent teeth. But junior’s mouth seems to be overcrowded with his new teeth. Should you get him to start wearing braces? Dr Boey Pui Yunn, Dental Specialist in Orthodontics, T32 Junior answers some questions on dental braces.
Q: When is a good time to start wearing braces?
Dr Boey: Braces treatment can be started when most of the permanent teeth are out. This usually occurs between the ages of 11 to 13 years. Some children, however, may require braces at an earlier age. These individuals may have problems such as abnormal tooth eruption, delay in tooth eruption, early tooth loss, extreme crowding, trauma to the teeth, or developing jaw disharmonies. In these instances, early braces treatment is required to assist the growth of the teeth or the jaws. This can take place anytime from 7 to 11 years of age.
Very often, these problems can remain undetected, which is why the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children should seek an orthodontic assessment by age 7.
Q: What are the pros and cons of wearing braces?
Dr Boey: Braces improve tooth alignment and positions, and enhance the appearance of the teeth. This is beneficial for most children as straight teeth are easier to clean. In addition, after the teeth have been straightened, there is usually an increase in overall self-esteem.
However, the braces process can be uncomfortable when the teeth are being moved. Braces can also trap more food than usual, so great attention to good oral hygiene is required to prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
Q: What should I expect when my child puts on braces?
Dr Boey: In the initial period after the braces have been installed, it is normal to experience some discomfort due to the movement of the teeth. Some may also get soreness of the lips and cheeks. During this period of adjustment, a soft diet may be helpful. These symptoms usually go away in a week or two, and most patients are able to resume a normal diet after that.
Braces do trap more food around the teeth, so more time and effort is required to clean them daily. It is important to clean the teeth and gums at least twice a day, with fluoride-containing toothpaste to prevent decay. Special small brushes are useful in removing plaque around the braces. Brushing well daily will help prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
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By Dr Boey Pui Yunn
Dental Specialist in Orthodontics, T32 Junior
One Orchard Boulevard, 17th Floor
Camden Medical Centre
Tel: (65) 6733 1388
Emergency Dental Services: (65) 6398 5578