Searching for “Best Kids Braces Near Me?”
Start here! I wish I had started my kids’ braces treatments much sooner. So much has changed in the world of kids’ braces over the past 20 years but I didn’t realize that til I walked into a modern day ortho office.
For one thing, I didn’t know that you could start orthodontic treatment at age 8!
In this article, we’re going to cover some of the most-asked questions when it comes to deciding on kids braces: How do I choose an ortho? When should my kid start braces? How much do braces cost?
Read on – the information is broken into sections to help you sort it all out.
To get a professional perspective, we also checked in with Dr. Kevin Knapp of Knapp Orthodontists in Byron Center, MI. He is one of the sponsors on our website and shared insightful tips to keep in mind when planning kids braces.
Here for the Free Braces Giveaway?
Read on… you’ll find the giveaway further down in this article.
This article was written in partnership with Knapp Orthodontics.
Knapp Orthodontics specializes in comprehensive orthodontic care for all ages in Byron Center. Dr. Kevin Knapp is an Orthodontic Specialist. His office is located office is between the Byron Center Public and Private schools.
In this Article
How Do Kids Braces Work These Days?
Get ready for a whole new experience!
The methods used today to straighten teeth and correct alignment issues are very different than what most parents experienced. Today, there are many choices for kids braces.
Clear aligners, like Invisalign, are now options for people wanting straighter teeth. Technology has made old methods obsolete.
Color ties for braces
Another newer option: clear braces. Dr. Knapp offers clear braces (they are practically unnoticeable).
And, today’s metal braces are smaller and smoother than they used to be.
Dr. Knapp’s strategy, when applying adult and kids braces, is to put only the upper braces on first.
Dr. Knapp at work in Byron Center
This helps maximize patient comfort; suddenly having a full mouth of braces can be disconcerting. Plus kids that get top and bottom braces all at once often break brackets (by biting on the bottom braces).
For this reason, Dr. Knapp puts the bottom braces on 2 to 3 months into the treatment. All of the braces will come off at the same time.
Bonus: While many orthodontists charge more for clear braces, Dr. Knapp does not. Be sure to ask your provider about fees associated with clear braces.
Navigating Ortho Consults
Figuring out who will be taking care of the kids braces in your family is a multi-step process (see tips for choosing an orthodontist.)
It’s recommended that you make appointments with several orthodontists for a consultation. You’ll come away with the doctor’s treatment plan, a price for treatment, and a good idea of how that office operates.
Orthodontic offices are not all the same. Treatment styles, appointment processes, fees, and office vibe vary greatly from one practice to another.
Tip: Be sure to ask if there is a fee for a consultation & bring our checklist with you.
Some offices charge a fee for a consultation that can be applied to treatment if you decide to use their services.
Many orthodontists in the Grand Rapids area, including Knapp Orthodontics, offer free consultations and are used to people shopping around when it comes to selecting an ortho. If an office makes you uncomfortable during the consultation process, take that into account.
Dr. Knapp recommends families go to consultations with different orthodontists so you’ll understand their different options for kids braces. It’s important to educate yourself on the current orthodontic methods as well as the different styles of orthodontists.
Different orthodontists can – and often do – suggest drastically different treatment plans.
“I love it when someone comes in here and we are the second or third consult, because I know they are serious about their orthodontic treatment, and they’ve taken the time to look into it,” says Dr. Knapp.
What Happens at the Consultation?
Tip: Consultation appointments are often quite lengthy. Be sure to ask your provider how long to plan on.
At the consultation, the orthodontist will take x-rays and a series of photos. They will also perform an oral evaluation.
Once the orthodontist sees what’s going on inside of the patient’s mouth, they will make a treatment plan recommendation.
It is now standard to use digital x-ray machines, which use less than half the radiation of non-digital and give much better detail and more information than the older machines.
A Patient Being Examined at Dr. Knapp’s Office in Byron Center, MI
(Sidenote: 3D oral scanning has taken the place of impressions. That means the gooey mess they used in the past to make a model of your mouth is gone!)
You’ll Be Given a Treatment Plan and Go Over the Financials
Most offices have treatment specialists that will take you to a private room to go over the doctor’s assessment, recommendations for kids braces, and pricing for treatment.
You should feel comfortable asking questions at this point in the process.
Visual Treatment Planning
Asking questions about the treatment plan that will help you decide if the treatment will be effective for your child.
For example, Invisalign clear aligners require patients to voluntarily place trays in their mouths on a daily basis, for about 22 hours a day. Some kids and teens will have a very difficult time remembering to do this or complying with treatment, especially kids with ADHD or other neurodivergencies.
Your orthodontist should inquire about the patient’s medical history and habits before deciding on a plan of treatment.
Discuss payment plans and insurance at this time.
You should not feel pressured to sign up on the spot.
Ortho Consult Checklist
Tip: Consultation appointments are often quite lengthy. Be sure to ask your provider how long to plan on.
If you are scheduling ortho consults with several different providers (recommended), you will have a lot of information to remember from each evaluation. And, there may be large gaps of time between your different consults.
It can be hard to keep the different kids braces treatment plans separate.
To help, take a moment to jot down notes on a form like this after each consult, (click the image to download and use it yourself).
Add the notes to the folder of information you’re given at each consult that you attend and use it to help you make a final decision.
Schedule a Complimentary Consultation at Knapp Orthodontics and get $250 Off!
At Knapp Orthodontics they always have complimentary consultations so that every family can learn about what it takes for their child to have a confident smile and healthy bite.
Parents can schedule a complimentary consult online here or by calling 616-277-1938.
Bonus: Use promo code GRKIDS250 in the “message in practice” field when making an online appointment OR mention the code while scheduling to receive $250* towards orthodontic treatment!
*Contact Knapp Orthodontics by 3/31/23 to take advantage of the promo code.
How Much Do Braces Cost?
It’s true: braces are an investment.
The cost for kids braces varies greatly by type, duration, and needed interventions, making it hard to give an answer to the question “how much do braces cost.”
Parents should expect a total price tag in the thousands. Sometimes, dental insurance can help lower an orthodontics bill. Most all orthodontists offer payment plans. You have options when it comes to paying for braces.
When you attend an orthodontic consultation, make sure you clearly understand the office’s procedures and requirements for payment. There will be a down payment and monthly payments that will span your child’s treatment.
Melissa Dekker, office manager at Knapp Orthodontics, says their office understands that paying for braces can feel overwhelming.
“Braces are an important decision, and we understand this. It can be daunting thinking about the investment and the time commitment,” she says.
“However, our consultations are free. We love to have people interested in orthodontics come in so they can better understand the whole process, and we can go over our affordable financing options,” says Melissa.
Families who go to Knapp Orthodontics get to choose their down payment and their monthly payments. The down payment can be as low as $250.
What if you have multiple kids in braces at the same time?
Dekker notes that Knapp Orthodontics works with these families. Payments can be made even more affordable in order to have the convenience of having two or more kids in treatment at a time.
“We understand that it is an important financial decision, so we work hard to remove any barriers to getting patients started,” she says.
Dr. Knapp agrees that it is very important to work with families and have incredibly flexible payment plans.
“Every child deserves to have a confident smile and a healthy bite. Our treatment coordinators have the freedom to fit an orthodontic investment into a family’s lifestyle.”
WIN an Entire Phase of Braces from Knapp Orthodontics!
Are you ready for this? Knapp Ortho is giving one lucky reader FREE BRACES.
This is a prize worth $2-5K+!
Choose from either phase 1 or phase 2 orthodontic treatment with braces depending on the need and age of the patient at the time of treatment.
• The prize covers the full cost of necessary orthodontic treatment in Phase One or Phase Two. Necessary orthodontic treatment is determined by Knapp Orthodontics at the time of a complimentary consultation and would include either phase 1 or phase 2 treatment, but not both.
• Orthodontic treatment cannot be administered unless a candidate has received regular dental care within the last 12 months. Cavities or poor oral hygiene may prevent orthodontic treatment from moving forward.
• Winner cannot currently be in active orthodontic treatment, i.e. have braces on their teeth.
• The Prize Winner must schedule a complimentary new patient exam for the minor child within 90 days of winning the prize, and need to start orthodontic treatment within 12 months of the new patient exam date for expenses to be covered.
• The Giveaway Entrant must be 18 or older, entering this giveaway on behalf of a minor child in his or her direct care.
• The patient must be between 7 – 17 years old.
• Both the Prize Winner & minor child must live within 50 miles of Knapp Orthodontics.
*Just by registering and selecting to be contacted you’ll receive an email and/or text with a promo code for $250 towards orthodontic treatment.
FINE PRINT: This giveaway will close on March 2, 2023 at 11PM EST and the winners will be notified via email. The winner will have 24 hours to respond by email accepting the prize. No purchase necessary to enter the contest. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You are providing your information to grkids.com and not to Facebook. Entrants will release Facebook from all liability. Entrants must be at least 18 years of age and reside in Michigan. Only one entry per household or IP address. GRKIDS’ liability is limited to the value of the prize.
At What Age Should Kids Get Braces?
In the ’90s it was common for teens to have braces but rare for elementary kids but times have changed. Today, kids are getting braces by age 8 or 9 and it’s completely normal.
Dr. Knapp says that age 8 is the sweet spot because it’s the time between when children lose their baby teeth and get their permanent teeth. Tooth and jaw problems are also more easily assessed at this time.
If your dentist encouraged you to get an orthodontist consultation for your 8-year-old, the message is getting out. Starting kids braces earlier could save you money and help you avoid more extensive ortho treatments later; this is a prime time to bring your child in for their first ortho consult.
Dr. Knapp says treating a child at age 8 or 9 lets an orthodontist prevent problems before they appear outwardly. “Of course, we are interested in where the teeth end up, but we are also interested in measuring jaw growth and development over these critical ages to make sure the child doesn’t end up with a big underbite or a really big overbite.”
What is Phase 1 in Orthodontics?
If kids come for a consult before all of their permanent teeth have erupted (around age 8) the orthodontist will have an option to do what is typically referred to as “Phase 1” orthodontic treatment.
In Phase 1 Orthodontists, a child’s jaw is expanded to allow permanent teeth to erupt in optimal positions. This process can often shorten the length of time needed for braces treatment and it’s less intrusive.
Dr. Knapp likes to call Phase 1 treatments interceptive treatments because a child may or may not need more than one Phase of orthodontics. The word “phase” implies there will be multiple phases and that’s not always the case.
“Not all children need a first, or interceptive, phase of treatment, but it is very important that those who do receive treatment,” says Dr. Knapp.
What are Retainers and how are they used?
If left to their own devices, teeth treated with braces will shift position over time. To hold the position that you’ve worked so hard for, teeth will need to be held in place.
Enter the retainer.
“We think of the bone as this strong, stable object, but it is actually continuously regenerating,” explains Dr. Knapp. “When the bone regenerates, that tooth is going to shift a little. We recommend for every patient, no matter how old they are, to have and use their retainer.”
Most orthodontists now use clear retainers. They are great because they’re easily replaced if lost using the 3D technology used to make them in the first place.
Clear retainers offer 360 degrees of coverage as opposed to the “old-fashioned” metal bar retainer which allowed some shifting.
Do you need a referral to see an orthodontist?
While many family dentists will refer patients to orthodontists, a dentist referral is not needed to access orthodontic care. Most dental insurance plans allow you to choose the orthodontist that works best for your family’s needs.
More about Knapp Orthodontics – Partner Info
2465 Byron Station Dr SW Suite D, Byron Center, MI 49315
According to Dr. Knapp, “adolescents who go through orthodontic treatment have higher confidence and self-esteem and they are more likely to participate in choir, theater, sports, band, any of these activities where you get up in front of people.”
Of course, the goal of anyone’s orthodontic treatment is a healthy smile.
Dr. Knapp says a confident smile goes a long way toward being successful in life because smiling is one of the principal forms of communication.
“People who go through orthodontic treatment – they smile more. You want to be able to communicate, smile, and laugh.”
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