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Some kids can't wait to get their braces, seeing them as a sign that their teen years can't be far behind. Others, though, worry about what they'll feel or look like. However your child feels, you probably have some questions and concerns of your own about braces including how you're going to pay for them! Here's the lowdown on kids and braces. Kids can need braces for any number of reasons, including crooked, overlapping, or overcrowded teeth, or a "bad bite" known as malocclusion.

Malocclusion is when there's a difference in the sizes of the top and bottom jaws. When the upper jaw is bigger than the lower jaw, it's called an overbite. When the lower jaw is bigger, it's called an underbite. Sometimes tooth and jaw problems can be caused by losing baby teeth too soon, accidents, or habits like thumb sucking.

Ten Things You Shouldn’t Do While Wearing Braces

But often they're inherited, so if you or someone in your family needed braces, it's likely that your kids will, too. The orthodontist can decide whether your child does indeed need braces and which devices would be best. There's no set age for a child's first orthodontist visit — some kids go when they're 6, some kids go when they're 10, and some go while they're teens. Even adults can need orthodontic treatment. Many orthodontists say kids should see an orthodontist once their permanent teeth start coming in, around age 7.

At this age, issues such as uneven bite and overcrowding will become apparent.

The Basics of Braces

Starting the process early doesn't mean a child will get braces right away. It just means the orthodontist will be able to find problems and decide the best time to start treatment.

At the first visit, the orthodontist will thoroughly examine your child's teeth, mouth, and jaw. He or she may ask your child to bite the teeth together and may also ask questions about whether your child has problems chewing or swallowing, or has ever had clicking or popping of the jaw. The orthodontist may take X-rays of the mouth and teeth to see how the teeth are positioned and whether any permanent teeth still need to come in.

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He or she also may make a mold or impression of your child's teeth by pressing a tray of gooey material into the top and bottom teeth. When the mold is removed and the material hardens, the result is a replica of your child's teeth that will allow the orthodontist to decide which treatment options are best. Braces correct alignment problems by putting steady pressure on the teeth, which eventually moves them into a straighter position. Most kids just need braces with brackets, wires, and rubber bands.

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The brackets attach to the teeth and are connected by a wire and rubber bands. The wire is tightened bit by bit over time to slowly help line the teeth up properly.

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The rubber bands come in fun colors that kids can pick. Though metal braces are still used, so are clear or white ceramic braces, which are much less noticeable. Please enter a valid name Please enter a valid name.

[BRACES EXPLAINED] Elastics / Rubber Bands

E-mail Sent Successfully Your email has been successfully sent to the recipient. For most types of braces, it takes about hours. First, the orthodontist will thoroughly clean and dry your teeth. Next, he or she will apply the bonding glue to your teeth and attach the brackets the small metal or ceramic squares.

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The glue may taste unpleasant, but is harmless. Finally, the orthodontist will place the archwire the wire that connects your teeth in the brackets and secure it with elastic bands. Getting them on doesn't hurt, but your teeth and mouth will be sore afterwards.

Expect your teeth and mouth to be sore for about a week. How to Clean Your Teeth with Braces. Getting Your Braces Off Sooner.

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