My child needs braces! - Braces for kids in Singapore
We look at the basics of braces for kids...
It seems to be that the rite of passing into teenage-hood now is marked by the introduction to braces.
Though children now are sophisticated enough to value the long term plan to look good, it still is a tough step.
In fact, there are horror stories in Southeast Asia about teenagers fitting fake braces as a status symbol, and this has even led to choking deaths.
Plus there are many associated pains – being laughed at, mouth blisters, extra work caring for the teeth, inability to eat some types of favourite food – and parents need to know what they are getting into.
It is not about braces, it is about life getting even more difficult during the stormy teenage years.
Singapore braces basic FAQ – Types, Costs, Duration, Appearance & Pain
We caught up with Dr Alexander Wenden, Dental Surgeon at Unity Denticare to find out more about braces for kids here in Singapore.
What are the types of braces for kids?
Braces can be placed on the front of the teeth and will have a wire connecting each brace to straighten the teeth. The braces can be metal colored but can also be clear or tooth colored to make them less noticeable.
Braces can also be placed behind the teeth. This form of treatment is known as lingual orthodontics, as the braces are on the lingual or ‘tongue’ side of the teeth. This type of treatment provides a superior aesthetic option, as the braces can’t be noticed on smiling and general conversation.
Braces sometimes aren’t even needed to straighten the teeth. In these situations, we can use a clear plastic aligner, which is worn throughout the day and night. This type of treatment is very popular and the technology has increased vastly, allowing excellent correction of crooked teeth.
How much do braces cost here in Singapore?
The cost of braces treatment varies depending on the complexity and severity of the problem. In general, prices range from around $1,000 for simple straightening of teeth up to $5,000 for more complicated issues.
Average duration of wear?
Treatment usually takes between 18 and 24 months to complete, but can be as fast as a 6 months. This will depend on how severe the problem is prior to treatment.
What’s the most painful thing about wearing braces?
There might be a mild level of initial discomfort but patients usually adapt to this very well.
When should kids start wearing braces?
Generally 7 years of age is a good time to get an opinion from an orthodontist as to whether any braces or intervention therapy might be required
What are some signs to look out for to know that your kids need braces?
Signs to be on the look for include baby teeth that refuse to fall out on time, upper teeth that bite behind the bottom teeth and significantly crooked or displaced teeth.
How exactly does braces help kids’ teeth?
Generally, for children with poorly aligned teeth, it has been shown that natural mechanisms for tooth cleaning (e.g. saliva), function less effectively which can lead to an increased risk of tooth decay.
Teeth that are biting incorrectly can unfortunately be shifted out of the underlying supporting bone, and this can cause the gums to recede, leaving behind unsightly ‘long teeth’. If one of your teeth is stuck in the bone of one of your jaws and cannot erupt into the mouth, further unwanted consequences can occur. The un-erupted tooth may cause damage to the other roots of the surrounding teeth.
The benefits of braces extend also to self–esteem and image. For individuals with teeth that do not overlap at the front of the mouth, for example, speech may be difficult and ‘lisps’ can develop. Further, studies have shown that very poorly aligned teeth have a negative effect on self- esteem.
Are there any side effects/dangers of kids wearing braces?
Whilst orthodontic treatment can be a fun and hugely rewarding experience for both the patient and doctor, it it also important to remember that care and responsibility is needed throughout the treatment experience by both parties.
Patients will need to be motivated to floss and brush their teeth and gums regularly and more carefully than they might have done before they had braces. This will prevent the development of tooth decay and gum disease from occurring. You will need a thorough examination of teeth, supporting gums and bone prior to treatment.
Any concerns with your teeth and gums will be communicated to you by your doctor. Shapes of the roots of teeth must be examined and previous trauma to the teeth should be communicated to the doctor. This will aid in minimising any damage to the roots of the teeth during your treatment.
What sort of precautions/care should parents be aware of?
Kids should be careful when brushing both the teeth and gums during their braces treatment, especially under the wires to prevent any staining or decay occuring on the teeth.
Care is also required whilst eating so as to avoid damaging the braces. It is best to stay away from hard and sticky candies.
How should parents deal with it if their kid is not physically comfortable with braces after trying it or the social consequences to wearing braces?
Braces treatment is a team effort and we aim to make your time with us as fun and rewarding as possible. All our patient are free to drop in at any time to our clinic to fix any problems they have with the braces or even just to say hi.
How often should kids go to the dentist to get their braces checked and do they have to get it changed too?
Kids will need to attend the clinic for a check and adjustment of braces every 4-8 weeks for the duration of treatment. To help the doctor complete the process as soon as possible, patients may be asked to wear elastics.
Dr Alexander Wenden
53 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3
#03-17 Ang Mo Kio Hub
Tel: +65 6336 6222
Email: [email protected]