Braces for Kids & Teens


Dr. Mila Cohen of True Dental Care for Kids & Teens understands the fears and concerns about braces for kids and teens. Orthodontics can be a huge adjustment for both you and your child. For example, with kids braces, there are some foods, like peanut butter, that your child can no longer eat. But these temporary, minor adjustments to your lifestyle pay off in proven long-term results.

Wearing kids braces often requires a commitment of a year or more, which is why you have to understand all the variables and have all your questions answered before making a decision to get braces for your kids. In general, though, misaligned teeth can lead to a number of problems, including:

  • An over-bite or under-bite that causes tooth wear
  • Pain in their teeth or jaw
  • Problems talking
  • Chewing difficulty
  • Infections in their gums or mouth
  • Difficulty cleaning their teeth

Standards of Correction

As installed by Mila Cohen, most kids’ braces are brackets that are bonded to the front of the teeth and connected by wires to help correct a misalignment. The wires are held in place on the bracket with small rubber bands that may be colored. Braces for kids help shape your child’s jaw or palate or help make space for other teeth. They’re sometimes used in conjunction with other appliances, such as:

  • Wires
  • Spacers
  • Retainers
  • Headgear
  • Additional rubber bands

In the U.S., there are as many as 4.8 million teens with braces. More and more adults get braces for kids, but their average treatment time is about a year longer. The difference is due to the complications common for adults during orthodontic treatment. This is just one more reason why you should get your child into braces before the age of 18.

Your dentist keeps a careful eye on your children’s teeth as the adult set comes in to determine what age is the best for success. Your kids dentist in Jersey City also spots potential complications such as crowding, severe overbites, and impacted canines that can require a longer time in braces. Choosing the appropriate start time for your children is the best first step in setting your kids up for success.


The Best Age For Braces

Braces are best applied to children and adolescents because their jaws and faces are still growing. Additionally, adults commonly have previous dental work such as crowns, cavities, and fillings, which can make braces more complicated due to the shifting and movement of the teeth during treatment.

While getting kids braces beats getting them as an adult, you don’t want them too early. Even though adult teeth have replaced baby teeth by the 13th birthday, your kids’ jaws and faces are still growing. This leaves plenty of room for adaptation to the movement caused by braces and other orthodontic devices. Your dentist picks the best time:

  • After all your child’s baby teeth have all fallen out
  • When the adult teeth have fully replaced baby teeth
  • After the 12-year-old molars come in

The Benefits of Getting Braces Early

With many medical treatments, detecting a problem early and treating it right away results in a number of benefits. With braces, it’s no different — the benefits include:

  • Being able to improve the appearance of your child
  • Creating a more functional bite that lasts longer and prevents wear
  • Having the time to shape the jaw to accommodate wisdom teeth
  • Allowing your NJ kids dentist to treat any behavioral problems — such as thumb sucking
  • Lowering the chances of protruding teeth
  • Predicting how the permanent teeth will move and settle
  • Improving self-esteem in your child
  • Preventing the need for future, potentially more invasive dental correction

How Long Braces Are Needed

Every child is different, but braces are typically meant to stay on for a full year and possibly up to 28 months. This difference depends on the severity of the misalignment. Your dentist may need to address other issues, such as palate widening, at the same time, often with other appliances, which can lengthen the time your kids have to wear braces.

But having braces on too long is both frustrating for your child and detrimental to their teeth. It’s in everyone’s interest to have an efficient treatment plan. Several of the reasons braces may need to remain on longer than 28 months include:

  • Placing braces on the teeth too early
  • Delaying getting braces because of scheduling or unexpected issues
  • Not getting recommended work done (such as tooth extraction) while braces are on

While there’s always the potential for braces to take longer to work than predicted, your NJ kids dentist does everything to ensure the quickest possible treatment. When braces are working efficiently, they don’t need to stay on as long.

How Much Do Braces Cost?

Your dentist can provide you with affordable braces. The exact price of your child’s braces can differ due to the complexity of the misalignment. But if you catch it early enough, chances are the price to correct the misalignment will be on the lower end.

In general, the cost of getting braces for kids can range from $3,000 to $7,000. While this is a significant sum, keep in mind that getting braces as a teen is usually more affordable than getting them as an adult — mostly due to the fewer secondary procedures, devices, and time needed. Also, note that orthodontics may or may not be covered by your dental insurance.

What to Expect with Braces

When you have a teen with braces, you can expect to hear about some discomfort at first. Their teeth are commonly sore and tender after each visit because your dentist is still making adjustments. Other common side effects include:

After your child’s braces are removed, a retainer is fitted. Braces retainers maintain the shape of the teeth after braces and must be worn exactly as recommended (usually at night). This can be a tricky step for children and adolescents, but it’s vital to ensure that they don’t need braces again.

Your dentist helps you navigate these unpleasant side effects with education and maintenance. Overall, these side effects are not nearly as bad as the side effects of having misaligned teeth.