Brace yourself
10 things you need to know about braces.
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Cape Town dentist Dr Kevin Murdock helps us get it straight.

What is the best age for a child to get braces?
You should look at the possibility of braces once all of the permanent teeth are in the mouth (+/- 12 years old).

What is your advice to parents who think their children need braces?
Each case must be individually assessed but most times I will encourage the parents to go ahead with orthodontic treatment (either for functional or aesthetic reasons).

What is the average price of braces (including all consultation costs)?
The price of braces can range from R6 000 to R25 000, depending on whether a dentist or orthodontist treats the case and of course the difficulty of the case.

Are braces covered by medical aid?
Not by all medical aids but some may. Each medical aid has its own policies concerning braces coverage.

How do braces straighten crooked teeth?
The wire placed in the brackets wants to return to its original shape and this gentle force moves the teeth straight.

Is there a certain way to maintain the teeth while the braces are on?
It is extremely important to maintain excellent oral hygiene while the braces are on otherwise you end up with white rings on the teeth. It is more difficult to keep them clean but you get specific brushes to get in between the wires. Certain foods and drinks are not advised while wearing braces.

How does my child maintain his teeth after the braces have come off?
The same way as you would with other teeth. You must, however, wear retainers for a period of time to keep the teeth from drifting back to their original position.

Are there different kinds of braces?
We use metal and porcelain brackets although the latter is much more costly than the metal kind.

What is the average time for braces to be worn?
The average time period for braces to be worn is +/- 18 months. In more severe cases the time period can be much longer.

Are you ever too old to get braces?
One can never be too old to get braces. There is no age limit.

Read more about a teen's personal experience 'on the wire'.

Do you think braces are worth the money?

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