Did you know that roughly 4 million people under the age of eighteen are wearing braces in the United States? That’s a lot of kids who are on their way to straighter teeth! Is it time for your child to join them? 

Your child may be resistant to braces at first. After all, they want to “look cool” in front of their friends at school, but rest assured that they’ll be grateful once they can flash their shiny and straight smiles in their school photos!

With more options than ever for orthodontic treatment, what are the best braces for kids? How can you decide which ones will be most effective and user-friendly for your child?

We’re here to break down your options so you and your child can make an informed decision. Read on to learn more.

Metal (Traditional) Braces

Traditional metal braces are what most people think of when they hear the term “braces.” They’re tried and true and every orthodontist is able to offer them to people of all ages.

But what are metal braces?

When your child gets metal braces, the orthodontist will place metal brackets on all of their teeth. They then put a wire through the brackets that will slowly shift the teeth over time. 

Children often wear rubber bands with their metal braces to help with complex movements. 

Benefits of Metal Braces for Kids

When it comes to the cost of braces for kids, metal braces tend to be the most affordable, even if your child’s dental insurance doesn’t cover them. This is a huge draw for many parents who are trying to save money for their child’s education or who are living paycheck-to-paycheck.

Metal braces are effective for a wide variety of orthodontic issues, so if your child has a complex problem, metal braces are a great option.

Metal braces are also very difficult to remove or break. Children cannot lose their metal braces by mistake, so you’ll never have to worry about disrupting their treatment time. 

Downsides of Metal Braces for Kids

Metal braces are, of course, the most visible option. Many children (especially older children) may feel self-conscious about them. That said, because they’re so common, your child will actually fit right in. 

Metal braces do impact your child’s ability to eat certain foods, like anything sticky or hard. This may be stressful for your child. 

If your child is in band class or choir, having braces might impact their ability to perform. 

Ceramic (or “Invisible”) Braces

Ceramic braces are similar to metal braces, but instead of metal brackets, they have tooth-colored brackets. This makes them less visible. Ceramic braces still have metal wires, but you may be able to get those wires with a white coating.

Like metal braces, the wires in ceramic braces move the child’s teeth over time.  

Benefits of Ceramic Braces for Kids

The primary benefit of ceramic braces over traditional braces is that they’re less visible. From a distance or in photos, it’s difficult to see the braces at all. This may make some children feel more comfortable. 

Again, ceramic braces are difficult to remove or break. Children won’t be able to disrupt their orthodontic process. 

Ceramic braces are also usually cost-effective and they can handle a wide variety of orthodontic issues. 

Downsides of Ceramic Braces for Kids

The downsides of ceramic braces for kids are the same as the downsides of metal braces (aside from their visibility). 

Ceramic braces do impact a child’s ability to eat certain foods. They also impact the child’s ability to play certain musical instruments and even sometimes their ability to sing (but this will vary depending on the child). 

Invisalign Clear Aligners

Invisalign clear aligners are more popular than ever, and for good reason. With the newest Invisalign technology, they make quick work of many orthodontic issues.

So what is Invisalign

Invisalign is a series of aligners that your child will switch out either every week or every other week depending on their unique treatment plan. Instead of brackets, the child will have tooth-colored attachments on some of their teeth to facilitate movement. They may also have rubber bands. 

Benefits of Invisalign for Kids

While Invisalign isn’t the most popular option for younger kids, there are still some benefits.

Invisalign is the least visible option (even if it’s not completely invisible). This might make some children feel more comfortable at school. 

Invisalign may require fewer appointments than the other types of kid-friendly braces. This will depend on your child’s treatment plan and your orthodontist, so be sure to discuss your needs before committing. 

Because you can remove Invisalign aligners, kids can eat whatever they like as long as they brush their teeth afterward. Kids can also still play music and sing, though their aligner-free time is limited. 

Downsides of Invisalign for Kids

Invisalign isn’t a good option for children who aren’t attentive. Because children need to remove Invisalign when they eat, it’s not uncommon for them to accidentally throw out the aligners with their lunch trays at school. 

Children also need to remember to wear their aligners for anywhere between 20 and 22 hours per day (depending on their treatment plan). Not being diligent could set back their treatment time.

Children need to be able to brush their teeth after every meal or drink, even when they’re at school. 

Invisalign is a good option for responsible teenagers, but you’ll need to have a long talk with your child to determine their maturity level before you choose Invisalign. 

Which Braces Are Right for Your Child?

There are plenty of options for braces for kids, so which will you choose? 

It’s always best to have a conversation with your child and their orthodontist together before picking a type of braces. Depending on your child’s case, one may be better than the others.

If your child is ready for braces, we want to meet them! At Sencak Orthodontics, we aim to provide the highest quality of care for all of our young patients. Find your local office and make your appointment today.