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Children and Orthodontics

(continued)

How long does my child need to wear braces?

The length of treatment varies. It depends on the problem, how well your child cooperates, and your child's growth. Typically, most people wear braces from 18 to 36 months.

How long does my child need to wear a retainer?

Ideally, your child should wear a retainer forever, even if it is only one night a week. Of course, this may not be practical. The teeth are like the rest of the body and the body changes. Once your child stops wearing the retainer, slight changes to the teeth should be expected.

On average, how much do braces cost?

The cost varies depending on the extent of work being done, the type of braces being used, and where you live. But you should expect to pay between $2,000 and $8,000.

Most orthodontists provide different payment plans and will allow you to make payments over the course of treatment without charging interest. Some may take insurance.

Ask your orthodontist about all treatment fees and payment plans they offer before treatment begins.

If your child could benefit from braces but you can't afford it, there may be other ways to cover the cost, including:

  • Financial aid programs: Low-income families can apply to the Smiles Change Lives program. This provides access to orthodontic treatment for children between the ages of 11 and 18 years of age. If accepted, the child can receive braces for $250 to $500. To be accepted, you must meet certain income requirements (for example, a family of four cannot earn more than $40,000 per year) and your teeth must be moderately to severely crooked.
  • Medicaid: Medicaid may cover braces, especially if your child's teeth cause problems with talking, eating, or swallowing. This coverage varies from state to state.
  • Dental schools: If you live close to a dental school with an orthodontics program, you may be able to get treatment from a student (supervised by an experienced orthodontist) for a lower cost.
  • Dentists: Some general dentists provide orthodontic treatment and may be able to take care of your orthodontic needs at a reduced rate since they are not orthodontists.

Making the decision to embark on orthodontic treatment may not be easy, but an improved smile can make a huge difference in appearance and self-esteem.

There are many options available. When choosing a treatment plan, you need to consider many factors, including the orthodontic needs, cost, and primary goals of treatment. Your dentist or orthodontist can help you make the right decision for you and your child.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Alfred D. Wyatt Jr., DMD on December 14, 2011
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How Do I Measure Up? Get the Facts Fast!

Number of Days Per Week I Floss

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Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

SOURCES:

American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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