Braces for Kids: 101

When it is time for your child or teen to get braces, it is an exciting chapter! Even if your child is hesitant to get braces on, they are sure to be happy with the results they receive in the end.

While braces can be a little scary for kids – whether it is a younger child who is scared of possible pain, or a teen who doesn’t like change – there is no need to fear! Our team at Authentic Orthodontics makes the transition to life with braces smooth and easy.

If this is your first time with a kid who is getting braces, you may have a few questions. We have compiled a list of our most frequently asked questions, with answers to each below. 

What Are Options for Kids’ Braces?

Depending on your child’s age and the complexity of their braces treatment plan, there are a few options that can be offered. Here are a few of the most common choices:

Traditional Metal Braces

When you think of braces, you think of the traditional metal variety! These braces are chosen time and again for a reason; they are effective and work quickly to adjust your child’s smile.

Traditional metal braces are a favorite among kids because of the ability to choose colored bands to personalize braces. These braces are also easy to care for, and our staff will show your child how to clean them and manage life with braces.

Ceramic Braces

Ceramic braces have become increasingly popular in recent years, especially for pre-teens who do not want obvious braces, but want something that is highly effective.

Ceramic braces are made with tooth-colored brackets and bands, allowing braces to blend in seamlessly with your child’s smile. With similar guidelines for care and cleaning, ceramic braces are easy for kids to manage.


Only available to teens and older, Invisalign is the clear, removable form of braces. With a series of aligners that are worn over time, your teen’s smile will incrementally straighten, while not interfering with their life, activities, and appearance.

Invisalign is becoming so popular with teens, but teens are also encouraged to take good care of their aligners. Since they are removable, teens can sometimes lose their aligners or leave them out for longer than they should. With the help of our staff, we can offer tips to keep teens following their treatment plan and on top of caring for their aligners.

What Can Kids Eat and Not Eat with Braces?

For teens with Invisalign, there are no dietary restrictions since the aligners are removable. However, for other braces with brackets and wires, there are a few foods and drinks that must be avoided:

  • Sticky foods
  • Staining foods and beverages
  • Chewy foods
  • Hard foods
  • Foods that you must bite into

For full lists of what to avoid and what to enjoy while wearing braces, click here to visit our Life with Braces page.

What Are Common Problems with Braces?

Common orthodontic problems with braces are not severe issues, but they can sometimes interfere with your child’s life or cause some moderate pain. Here are a few things to look out for while your child is receiving orthodontic treatment:

  • Soreness, especially after appointments when wires are tightened. Treat with pain reliever medicine and soft foods.
  • Loose wires and bands, which can happen over time or when eating a food that isn’t safe for braces. Contact your orthodontist if something is loose so we can fix it.
  • Poking wires, which can cause irritation to the inside of cheek, lips, or gums. Adding bits of wax, provided by your orthodontist, can help ease issues between appointment times. 
  • Interferance with activities and sports can occur; however, we recommend consulting with your orthodontist about having a mouth guard created to protect your teeth and braces. 

How Long Does Orthodontic Treatment Last?

Just as your child is unique, so is their orthodontic treatment! Every smile is different and has its own adjustments that are necessary to make.

Typically, traditional braces are worn from anywhere between six months to around three years. Invisalign treatment lasts on average about 12 months, but can take longer depending on the complexity of the teeth to be straightened. Before braces are affixed to your child’s teeth or before Invisalign aligners are made, we will talk about estimated treatment time. 

Sometimes, treatment starts and stops, only to be revisted later. Either Dr. Olsen or Dr. French will walk you through options as the time comes, but we try to keep treatment to a minimum. 

Kid-Friendly Orthodontists 

The Authentic Orthodontics team specializes in braces for kids and teens. In fact, our office was even designed with them in mind! We have a Kid Zone to allow them to play games and relax before appointment times. 

Not only do we love working with kids, but we understand the challenges of being a busy parent today. Our friendly staff works with you to find appointment times that work, while also making your appointments as efficient and easy as possible. 

Ready to get started with Authentic Orthodontics? Give us a call today or schedule an appointment online.

Schedule an Appointment