Orthodontics is an important aspect of dental care. From gaps or overcrowded teeth to misaligned jaws, the goal of orthodontics is to strengthen and straighten teeth to avoid long-term oral health issues.
While not every child will require orthodontic treatment, it is best to consult with your Smile dentist to inquire about a routine orthodontic screening as early as age eight! Early identification of any orthodontic issues will make treatment much easier. So, what orthodontic treatments are available for children?
The most common and most trusted orthodontic treatment for kids, tween, and teens is traditional braces. Set across the top and bottom fronts of the teeth, traditional braces use stainless steel bands, brackets, and wires to gently shift your child’s teeth over time. Your Smile Orthodontist will bond (or glue) a bracket to each tooth, place a thin, flexible wire overtop the brackets, and use tiny elastic bands to keep the wire firmly in place. Traditional braces are clearly visible when you smile but your child can choose from a myriad of colorful elastic bands during each appointment for a little fun personalization.
Ceramic braces could be a desirable choice if you want subtle braces for your child because they are usually white or tooth colored. While they are like traditional metal braces, they can be more costly, less durable, and the lightly colored elastic bands are more likely to stain. Lingual braces are another choice less noticeable choice as they attach to the back of the teeth vs. the front.
You may have heard of many popular clear aligners such as Invisalign, SmileDirectClub, and Byte. Clear aligners are a modern treatment option in orthodontics that uses a series of custom-made, plastic aligners to gradually move your teeth into their desired positions. At Smile, we utilize an iTero Digital Scanner to generate a precise 3D model of your child’s mouth to create their unique set of clear aligners. This involves a simple (and painless) scan of the face that outputs digital dental impressions we turn into a video to show the movement of their teeth during treatment.
Because they are clear, they are virtually undetectable when worn, which can boost your kid’s confidence and less self-conscience while their smile straightens. Other benefits of clear aligners are their convenience, improved oral hygiene maintenance, flexibility in food choices, and faster average treatment time compared to traditional braces.
However, clear aligners are not suitable for every orthodontic case and can be more expensive than traditional braces. Patients who typically benefit from wearing clear aligners have mild teeth misalignments or have had
previous orthodontic treatment and want to make minor corrections to their smile. If your child has an overbite, underbite, misaligned jaw, or a more difficult orthodontic case, your Smile dentist and orthodontist would likely recommend the traditional braces route.
When your child’s orthodontic treatment is complete, they will graduate to wearing a retainer. Retainers prevent your child’s teeth from shifting back into their old positions. There are two types, and both are custom-made to fit your child’s teeth – fixed retainers that stay in your child’s mouth and removable retainers that can go in and out of the mouth. Your Smile dentist and orthodontist will recommend your child wear the retainer day and night for at least four to six months. After that, they will need to wear the teeth retainer only at night.
There’s no single right way to approach orthodontic treatment. Receiving an accurate diagnosis from an orthodontist is the first step to any successful treatment. Follow this link to learn more about the Smile Orthodontics services.