Braces for Children
Lots of children are indifferent to the idea of braces. They still love the idea of beautiful teeth, but they are nervous about whether it would be a painful procedure. However, the good news is that placing orthodontic braces is not so painful and the result is a beautiful straight smile.
Although orthodontic braces can be beneficial for patients of all ages, they tend to work faster on pre-teens and teens since their jaw is still developing. It is recommended by the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) that children first see an orthodontist around age seven. An orthodontic examination may be beneficial if oral and facial irregularities are noted.
Causes of teeth misalignment?
Poorly aligned teeth often lead to chewing, biting, and speaking problems. Most irregularities occur as a result of developmental or genetic issues. Conversely, some irregularities are acquired or worsened by some behaviors or habits such as:
- Finger or thumb sucking
- Mouth breathing
- Poor nutrition
- Prolonged pacifier use
- Poor oral hygiene
What’s involved when a child gets braces?
First, the orthodontist carries out a visual examination of the teeth of the child. Next, bite impressions (study models), panoramic X-rays, and computer-generated images of the neck and head are taken. These initial assessments are sometimes referred to as the “planning phase” because they help the orthodontist to diagnose and plan the most effective treatment.
The orthodontist, in many cases, recommends “fixed” orthodontic braces for a child. It’s not easy to lose, forget or remove fixed braces at will, which makes it possible to complete treatment quickly. Also, removable appliances may be used, as they are less intrusive and are used to treat a range of defects.
An overview of the main types of orthodontic appliances used on children is as follows:
- Fixed braces – braces consist of brackets fixed to each tooth and an archwire that helps connect the brackets. The brackets are usually made of ceramic, metal or colorless synthetic material that the naked eye can hardly notice. After the application of braces, the child will have the braces adjusted at regular appointments with the orthodontist. In most cases, Orthodontic elastic bands are added to the braces to improve the movement of certain teeth.
- Headgear – this appliance is mostly used in the treatment of developmental irregularities. A headgear refers to a custom-made appliance that is tied to a wire and helps in the movement of the tooth. A headgear is designed to be worn for 12-20 hours daily and should be worn as instructed for optimal result.
- Retainers – Retainers are mainly used in phase 3 (retention phase). After using braces to treat the original malocclusion, it is critical that the teeth are not allowed to regress back to the original misalignment. Wearing a retainer helps the teeth to remain aligned and makes it possible for the jawbone around the teeth to stabilize.
For questions about braces for children, please get in touch with our office.