Straight Talk: A Parent’s Guide to Braces for Kids

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As a parent, your objective is always what’s best for your child. The same principle applies when it comes to deciding whether or not your child should undergo an orthodontic treatment.

Orthodontics for kids is a complex topic, and it is easy to understand why most parents have difficulties deciding if their child needs treatment and which option is the best for them.

At One Devonshire Place, we share your concerns and fully appreciate that you want to do your best for your child.

This is why we’ve put our thinking caps on and compiled this guide to explore the ins and outs of children’s orthodontics. We will present all there is to know about each type of braces, their pros and cons, costs, and duration of treatment.

We will also explain how we can help no matter what your chosen treatment is and walk you through our process step-by-step.

With this in mind, let’s dive into the world of children’s orthodontics!

An Introduction to Children’s Orthodontics

We strongly believe that undergoing orthodontic treatment is not just about having straighter teeth. It’s about having a healthy smile that lasts a lifetime.

This view, it seems, is popular with people of all ages from all over the UK. According to the British Orthodontic Society (BOS), more than 200,000 children and teenagers in England and Wales have gone through orthodontic treatment over the last couple of years.

The number of patients is steadily increasing because of the growing demand from adults and young people seeking private orthodontic treatment.

Statistics aside, it is safe to say that braces for children are almost like a rite of passage. It is an effective way to correct orthodontic issues such as crowded teeth, protruding teeth, underbite, and overbite.

Once treatment is complete, many children report higher levels of self-esteem and their quality of life is markedly improved.

Advances in technology mean that there are numerous options to choose from. There really has never been a better time for your child to correct their teeth. Together with a specialist orthodontist, we are ready to help you choose the right treatment.

Bonus Offer: If you are considering orthodontic treatment for your child, then why not request a free smile assessment? At One Devonshire Place, we are here to evaluate your child’s orthodontic needs and come up with a plan together so you know exactly the process and end result.

When Should You Consider Braces for Your Child?

child with braces

The main objective of an orthodontic intervention is to allow your child to make the best of their teeth.

A successful procedure will allow your child to better care for their teeth and gums, eat more comfortably with an improvement in their bite, and their smile will benefit too.

However, when should you consider the orthodontic option for your child? There are several cases when such a course of action should be seriously discussed:

  • If there are noticeable gaps between their permanent teeth. Though not a health risk factor, these are often requested to be fixed on cosmetic grounds.
  • If their teeth have grown at odd angles it might be a case of crowded teeth.
  • If there’s a case of underbite whereby your child’s bottom teeth are protruding farther than their upper teeth allow.
  • If your child’s upper front teeth extend more than their bottom teeth it might mean there’s a need to correct an overjet. This is not always a health risk.
  • If your child breathes through their mouth most of the time, it might lead to complications further down the line. Constantly breathing through the mouth can change the shape of their face which can impact the way their permanent teeth grow. The same applies to thumb or finger sucking.

If we take the above scenarios aside, it might simply be the case that your child will request for an intervention to be made. At the end of the day, the goal is to help them be comfortable in their own skin and improve their quality of life.

What Is the Right Age to Consider Orthodontic Treatment for Your Child?

child giving heart sign

Commonly, the best age to consider an orthodontic intervention is once your child has lost most or all of their baby teeth. When most of their permanent teeth are grown, you can start orthodontic treatment.

Normally, this happens between the ages of 11 and 14. It is during this time that implementing preventive or interceptive care can go a long way to ensuring your child’s teeth develop correctly.

However, in the field of paediatric orthodontics, it is highly recommended to treat dental issues before they are fully developed. Intercepting them early can significantly reduce the chances of your child needing more complex interventions later on.

For example, you can consider an interceptive approach while your child still has most of their baby teeth. At One Devonshire Place, we can monitor from an early age the way your child’s bite develops. We advise going through an orthodontic assessment after the age of 7.

Monitoring crucial aspects such as jaw length and the positioning of the developing adult teeth can give a more accurate representation of how your child’s mouth will grow in the years to come.

Once an issue becomes apparent, timely intervention using specific dental appliances can remove the need for more invasive treatment later in life.

Even if the use of fixed metal braces might still be needed, the duration of the treatment can be significantly reduced thanks to the early intervention. More so, the need for extractions may be reduced as well.

Bonus Offer: If you are considering orthodontic treatment for your child, then why not request a free smile assessment? At One Devonshire Place, we are here to evaluate your child’s orthodontic needs and come up with a plan together so you know exactly the process and end result.

What Are the Different Types of Braces for Kids?

With a brief introduction to children’s orthodontics covered, it is time now to discuss the different types of braces from which you can choose. It all depends as well on the advice you receive from your orthodontic specialist.

We mentioned at the beginning of the guide that advances in technology have brought with them numerous solutions suitable for each individual case.

Let’s dive in and see what these are!

Conventional Fixed Braces

Child Fixed Braces

The first category we will go through is conventional fixed braces. This will include the traditional metal braces but will also discuss some new additions to the fixed braces portfolio.

We’re starting with fixed braces first as these are still the most popular form of orthodontic appliance.

Let’s get started!

Bonus Offer: If you are considering orthodontic treatment for your child, then why not request a free smile assessment? At One Devonshire Place, we are here to evaluate your child’s orthodontic needs and come up with a plan together so you know exactly the process and end result.

Traditional Metal Braces

Girl with Fixed Braces

As mentioned earlier, despite the innovations in removable braces and lingual braces over the past 20 years, traditional fixed metal braces are still a pillar of children’s orthodontics. It is easy to understand why. They’re reliable, safe, and predictable.

To give you a clear picture so you can make an informed decision, we will discuss the pros and cons of this category.

But first, let’s talk about treatment duration. This will depend on the complexity of the case, but you should expect the procedure to last between 12 months to two and a half years.

The Pros of Traditional Metal Braces

The effectiveness of these braces is what truly sets them apart. They can handle pretty much every dental issue that your child might have.

From extremely overcrowded teeth all the way to underbites or overjets. These are braces that provide a fool-proof way to healthy teeth.

Metal braces are also very durable and you will not experience any issues with them throughout your child’s treatment. They are specifically designed to remain in the oral cavity for long periods of time. However, extra attention when eating is advisable.

Another benefit is how quickly and easily adjustments can be made. As a result, if slight modifications are needed during your child’s treatment, these can be done with ease and in a short period of time.

The rubber bands that hold the wires into place on the brackets represent a fantastic opportunity for your child to showcase their creativity. Why? Because they can pick and choose any colour they want.

Lastly, metal braces represent the least expensive orthodontic treatment of all the options available. More on the pricing for each treatment will be discussed toward the end of the guide.

The Cons of Metal Braces

Though effective, this type of orthodontic treatment has some disadvantages as well. For one, metal braces are very noticeable and the way they look inside the mouth can create some discomfort when it comes to physical appearance.

More so, when the braces need to be tightened, discomfort is expected because of the pressure being applied to the teeth. Pain can also be experienced because the metal brackets and wires can cut or irritate the lips, tongue, and cheeks.

Oral hygiene is also more complicated. Properly brushing and flossing need to be done in a specific way in order to clear around the brackets.

Lastly, your child will be limited in terms of what food and drinks they can consume. Hard foods should be avoided to limit the risk of damaging the brackets or wires. Chewy and gooey foods should be consumed with care as they easily stick to the braces.

Fluids that are acidic such as fizzy drinks or fruit juice can cause teeth staining. Once the braces are removed there is a risk for these stains to influence the look of the end result. Such drinks should only be an occasional treat and at meal times. Water is a much safer option.

Ceramic Braces

Ceramic Braces

This treatment is one of the first innovations in the fixed braces game. They offer a softer look while still enjoying the benefits of having brackets mounted to the front of the teeth.

The more aesthetically pleasing look is achieved thanks to the use of ceramic brackets that blend in with the colour of your child’s teeth. The wire that links the brackets as well as the ligatures used to attach the wire to the bracket, can also be tooth coloured in appearance to reduce the presence of the appliance to a minimum.

The duration of the treatment is similar to the one for traditional metal braces.

The Pros of Ceramic Braces

The main advantage of using clear ceramic braces is that they are less visible than standard braces, with the options in terms of colour being limited only by your imagination.

They provide a discreet way for your child to undergo orthodontic treatment without the fear of being ridiculed or bullied because of it.

More so, ceramic braces do not interfere with imaging tests as opposed to metal braces which are known for causing some disruption in signals.

The Cons of Ceramic Braces

As opposed to metal braces which are included as an NHS orthodontic treatment, ceramic braces are more expensive.

Details of our pricing and fees can be found in the last section of the guide.

More so, because the brackets are larger than metal brackets, they can cause gum sensitivity. Because of their size, effective oral hygiene can be more difficult to achieve. A side effect is swollen gums or even receding gums, if the toothbrush can’t reach the enamel and gumline.

Lastly, the elastic ties that hold the wire to the brackets are prone to stain with ease and can remain so until replacement. As an option, coated ties can be used that do not stain. It is important to note though that these take longer to put on and take off.

Self-ligating Braces

Self-ligating Braces

Rather than using elastics to hold the wire in the correct position, this type of brace uses an integral clip mechanism which holds the wire in place and allows it to move more freely.

There are two types of self-ligating braces:

  • Active: using a sliding spring clip mechanism, they actively press on the archwire of the orthodontic appliance.
  • Passive: these use a simple sliding mechanism and do not apply any force on the archwire.

The expected duration of treatment with self-ligating braces, depending on the orthodontic issue that needs to be resolved, can range between 12 to 24 months.

The Pros of Self-ligating Braces

In most cases, self-ligating braces can handle the same complexity as traditional braces. You also have less friction, as long as the wire does not bind against the sides of the brackets.

There is the option, as well, of a transparent toothpick so that your child is not worried about their look.

The Cons of Self-ligating Braces

The main disadvantage of this type of brace is the costs involved. They are more expensive than traditional braces and are not usually included as part of the NHS treatment portfolio.

Other drawbacks can include soreness and irritation of the cheeks, gums, and lips. More so, the visibility factor is not that immensely different from the clear or ceramic braces.

Sometimes the gates fail, which means you have to have elastics or metal ties to hold the wire in any way or a new bracket placed.

Lingual Fixed Braces

Lingual Fixed Braces

Unlike the orthodontic appliances covered thus far in our guide, lingual braces are attached to the inside surface of your child’s teeth. This makes them virtually invisible to the outside world. As an orthodontic treatment, this appliance is capable of delivering high-quality results.

The treatment can last between 12 months and two years.

The Pros of Lingual Fixed Braces

The most important benefit of using lingual braces is that they are virtually invisible and can increase your child’s self-confidence while wearing them. More so, they can effectively correct most bite problems and are customisable to increase your child’s comfort and maximise their efficiency.

The Cons of Lingual Fixed Braces

What goes against them is that they can take longer to correct issues than traditional braces. Also, your child might initially experience difficulty in speaking, a degree of tongue soreness is not uncommon, and it is more difficult to keep the appliance clean. In most people, these issues settle down in around 3 months.

Lastly, the cost of treatment using lingual braces is considerably more than in the previously discussed treatments which reflects the greater laboratory fees in making the appliance, and the increased surgery time required when your child goes for adjustments.

Lingual braces usually take longer to adjust and are more technically demanding to the orthodontist.

Bonus Offer: If you are considering orthodontic treatment for your child, then why not request a free smile assessment? At One Devonshire Place, we are here to evaluate your child’s orthodontic needs and come up with a plan together so you know exactly the process and end result.

Removable Braces

Removable Braces

Removable braces are an innovative method to introduce orthodontic care for children who need it. They are normally made of acrylic with stainless steel wires, and springs may be used too.

They provide a discreet way for your child to correct an orthodontic issue. They can also be removed for important events, or for eating and brushing therefore minimising the risk of tooth decay.

The Main Advantages of Removable Braces

As benefits go, these can be classed as follows:

  • Convenient to use as they can be taken out when needed.
  • Eating, drinking, and oral hygiene are easier to manage.
  • They are more discreet than fixed braces.
  • No need to avoid specific foods and drinks during treatment.
  • Your child has more flexibility when it comes to the treatment provided.

Disadvantages of Removable Braces

No matter if your child’s orthodontic need is for top and bottom teeth, the success of the treatment with a removable appliance depends on your child’s due diligence when it comes to wearing it.

This is why there is no specific duration of treatment. It depends on how rigorously the removable braces are worn. More so, good results can be achieved but there is no guarantee of success. With this in mind, most treatments achieve their goals (while more limited) in around 6 months.

When it comes to more complex cases, removable braces are not always an option. This is why a thorough discussion with your child’s dentist will need to be had before going ahead with the treatment.

More so, in the case of some removable braces, speech can be more of a problem. This should be taken into consideration when deciding to go for this option.

Fixed Interceptive Treatments

Most parents are familiar with active orthodontics which uses the appliances discussed so far to correct various dental issues experienced by their children.

However, there is also the possibility for your child to go through a fixed interceptive treatment.

Once certain problems are detected, certain measures can be taken to prevent the complete development of these issues and reduce the appearance of more serious complications down the line. Children between the ages of 8 and 11 can undergo a fixed interceptive treatment.

The appliance used, depending on the correction needed, can be a space maintainer, dental arch expander, or palate expander. The former is used when your child loses a baby tooth prematurely and it is used to maintain that space until the permanent one is ready to come out.

The dental arch expander is used to open space up for specific teeth by pushing the back teeth further back.

The latter appliance (Palate Expander) is used in cases when a child has a narrow upper palate making it difficult to accommodate incoming permanent teeth. The palate expander is then used to gradually widen the palate and prevent issues such as overlap or overcrowded teeth.

The main benefit of undergoing such treatments is that it can either completely prevent the occurrence of dental issues further down the line, or significantly reduce these chances.

As a disadvantage, the case of patient burnout can occur. After all, we are talking about children here, and starting early orthodontics is a serious commitment not just for parents but for the child as well.

Twin Block Braces

Twin Block Braces

Twin block braces are used to correct what is called a class II problem. These form a group of bite problems where the top teeth bite too far in front of the lower teeth.

They are made from separate upper and lower parts that interlock, thereby placing the lower jaw in a more advanced position. The duration of the treatment depends on how severe the problem is but the average period is between 9 to 12 months.

After this, a period of nightwear might be recommended to maintain the improvement. A benefit of undergoing treatment with twin block braces is that it represents a quick way to correct the posture of your child’s jaw and minimises the need for more serious interventions.

The drawback is that the results are not predictable. Some teeth are more adaptable and in such cases the results are dramatic. In other instances, the patient experiences little benefit and an alternative treatment might need to be considered.

Bonus Offer: If you are considering orthodontic treatment for your child, then why not request a free smile assessment? At One Devonshire Place, we are here to evaluate your child’s orthodontic needs and come up with a plan together so you know exactly the process and end result.

Invisalign® Clear Aligners

As a form of private treatment, Invisalign is the most innovative solution compared to what has been covered so far in this guide.

Invisalign implies the use of clear aligners that fit comfortably over teeth. These apply gentle pressure to address the dental issue that needs to be resolved. The aligners are custom-made to fit the requirements of each patient.

The Pros of Invisalign™ And Other Aligners

The main advantages of your child undergoing Invisalign treatment to treat their dental issue can be listed as follows:

  • The aligners are virtually invisible which means they won’t draw any unwanted attention.
  • The Invisalign aligners are removable which makes dental hygiene much easier.
  • The aligners are easier to maintain than is the case of braces.
  • It is a more comfortable solution than traditional braces.
  • Treatment with Invisalign is, on average, shorter than in the case of conventional braces.
  • Fewer emergency visits — no more broken wires.

The Disadvantages of Invisalign

In terms of what goes against Invisalign, the following aspects should be considered:

  • Comprehensive treatment with Invisalign can only begin once your child’s permanent teeth have erupted. On average, this happens at the age of 12. Considering that some patients might need earlier intervention, it means Invisalign is not always an option. However, there are certain options offered by Invisalign, Angel, Smartee, and Spark that offer an early version of aligner treatment to allow for intervention when baby teeth are still present.
  • Removable aligners do add convenience and flexibility to the treatment. However, it adds extra responsibility to the wearer because these aligners need to be worn 20-22 hours a day to be effective. Inconsistency with this aspect will prolong the treatment.
  • Invisalign is not a valid option when it comes to complex cases such as extreme overbites or large bites.

Bonus Offer: If you are considering orthodontic treatment for your child, then why not request a free smile assessment? At One Devonshire Place, we are here to evaluate your child’s orthodontic needs and come up with a plan together so you know exactly the process and end result.

Children’s Orthodontics at One Devonshire Place

Children’s Orthodontics

If you are ready to give your child the gift of a confident, radiant smile, our team of expert paediatric orthodontists is ready to turn this dream into reality.

We hope that this comprehensive guide has given you a clear understanding of all the options available to you and your child. At One Devonshire Place, we are proud to be able to offer all the treatment options discussed so far.

In the following concluding sections, we will take you through what our process entails, discuss the costs for each treatment option, and present the finance options we have available. By the end of it, we hope you’ll know exactly what to expect from us.

What to Look Out For?

If your child does any of the following:

  • Sucks their thumb, finger, or blanket.
  • Is a mouth breather.
  • Has problems with chewing or eating.
  • Has difficulty bringing their lips together.
  • Has difficulty swallowing.

You should also look out for any of the following:

  • Crowded teeth.
  • Prominent teeth.
  • Gappy teeth.
  • Missing teeth.
  • Extra teeth.
  • Baby teeth not falling out.
  • Worn down teeth.
  • Teeth that don’t bite together (open bites).

If you notice any of the above, you should ask your dentist how your child’s teeth and jaws are developing. Some issues above can be part of normal development and others can be a problem. If you have any concerns contact us directly at One Devonshire Place.

What Does the Process Entail?

It all starts with you requesting a complimentary smile assessment. Our friendly chairside manner will ensure your child is relaxed throughout the consultation process.

Once the assessment is complete, we will go together with you through the treatment options available to treat your child’s particular dental issue. A bonus point with us is that we will be able to offer a full range of options and help you avoid a long waiting list.

Once you have decided on a certain course of action, our specialist orthodontists will determine the optimum timescale for treatment.

When deciding the treatment period, we will take into account external factors and make sure the intervention is tailored to your child.

For instance, if your child is learning to play a musical instrument, we will take this into account and offer a treatment option that will not interfere with their musical studies.

Guidance and specialist support will be offered throughout the treatment. You just need to take that all-important first step!

Fees & Pricing

All our treatments include in-depth diagnosis and planning with a specialist orthodontist as well as aftercare. These are done to ensure only the very best treatment progression for your child. With this said, you can find our fees in the table below.

Guide Price

Smile assessment with treatment coordinator Carol


Initial consultation with a specialist paediatric orthodontist (under 18 years)


Invisalign Clear Aligners

From £2500

Upper and lower fixed braces

From £3200

Single arch lingual brace

From £4000

Upper lingual brace, lower labial brace (brackets on the front of teeth)

From £4000

Upper and lower lingual brace

From £5400

Simple fixed alignment

From £1200

Twin block brace

From £650

Removable appliance

From £350

Finance Options Available

We offer finance options in the form of an interest-free loan. Applying takes but a couple of minutes, and immediate feedback will be received.

The application process is straightforward with no hidden agenda. Our credit partners will ask you a few pertinent questions with your confidential information being preserved securely.

As a rule of thumb, we only conduct soft credit inquiries. This means that even if your application is not successful, your credit rating will not be impacted.

90% of credit decisions are delivered instantaneously and clear monthly instalments are presented. There will be no concealed charges.

If you are interested in calculating your rate, feel free to have a look at our easy-to-use online tool.

Get the Smile Your Child Deserves With One Devonshire Place

Now that we are at the end of our guide, we hope you have a clear understanding of what your child’s orthodontic treatment might entail.

It’s no easy feat, but our team of specialists will be on hand to make the process go as smoothly as possible. The common goal is to ensure your child will have a smile they can be confident of.

All it takes to get started is to make a small step. This can be in the form of our complimentary smile assessment. From there, options can be discussed to decide on the best course of action.

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