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Braces basics

Your most important braces questions, answered.

Q.  Does my child really need braces?

Long story short, it’s up to you and your child. Only a few children need braces for existing medical reasons.

Your child’s dentist may recommend braces to correct crooked, overlapping or overcrowded teeth, and bite problems. They know fixing these issues improve more than your child’s appearance.

The benefits of straight teeth include:

  • Increased self-confidence
  • Healthier gums
  • Healthier teeth
  • Improved overall health

Studies show there’s a strong connection between oral and overall health. Braces may help ensure your child enjoys a lifelong, healthy body and smile.

Talk to their dentist or orthodontist to learn more.

Q.  How much will it cost?

Your out-of-pocket orthodontia costs are dependent upon many variables. These include:

  • Your orthodontia benefits and lifetime orthodontia maximum
  • The orthodontist’s filed fees for treatments
  • Your child’s unique treatment plan

Create or sign in to your MySmile® account to view your orthodontia coverage.

Ask your orthodontist to submit a predetermination before your child gets their braces. It’ll give you a detailed out-of-pocket cost estimate based on your specific plan benefits and your child’s complete treatment plan.

Also, many orthodontists offer payment plans to make it easier on your finances.

Q.  How long will it take?

The average treatment time is between 1 to 3 years.

However, everyone’s smile is unique. The shape, size, and position of our teeth is unlike anyone else’s in the world. The exact shape and color of our lips are unique, too. And our tongue-print, just like our fingerprints, is one-of-a-kind. Even identical twins don’t have matching smiles.

As a result, your child’s orthodontic treatment plan will be specific to their smile’s needs.

Ask their orthodontist to give you a time estimate for your child’s treatment.

Q.  What’s the difference between medically necessary and cosmetic orthodontia?

Medically necessary orthodontia is defined as “services to help correct severe handicapping malocclusions caused by craniofacial orthopedic deformities involving teeth.” In plain language, it’s any orthodontic treatment needed to correct serious bit problems that may be affecting the ability to eat or speak normally.

An example would be treatment to help correct cleft palate or a debilitating overbite.

Cosmetic orthodontia is what the majority of us need to help straighten our teeth and correct our imperfect bite.

Ask your dentist or orthodontist if you’re not sure which one your child needs.

Q.  Will they hurt?

Most people experience a little pain and discomfort when they first get their braces. It takes a while for the soft tissues of your mouth (lips, tongue and cheeks) to adjust to rubbing against the brackets and wires. The orthodontist may provide a special wax to protect problem areas.

Talk to your orthodontist about the best pain remedies for your child.

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