Braces for Children

Kids really hate getting braces and a lot of kids do like the idea of getting a really great smile but almost every kid is embarrassed about how braces will look and how the discomfort and pain will cause them to feel self-conscious about themselves with their friends and just in life in general. It’s a good thing that modern braces actually aren’t that painful anymore and they always result in beautiful smiles.

You can be any age and get braces but of course, braces work more efficiently in young kids and teenagers, and the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) recommends that all children around the age of seven get a checkup from an orthodontist to see when or if they are going to eventually need braces.

What causes teeth to get misaligned?

Teeth that are poorly aligned can cause a bunch of problems physically including issues with biting and chewing and also speaking, and there are even more irregularities are even more exacerbated by certain behaviors like:

  • Thumb sucking
  • Poor nutrition
  • Oral hygiene that is poor
  • Pacifier use too long into life
  • Mouth breathing

What exactly is involved when children get braces?

An orthodontist will at first go through a series of diagnostic tests on the patient including things like computer generated images and x-rays and things like this just so the orthodontist can get a better idea of the problems with the patient’s teeth.  All of these assessments that go on at the beginning of the process are known as the ‘planning phase’ and they help the orthodontist prepare their diagnosis and treatment plan.

Most of the time an orthodontist will recommend that a patient gets ‘fixed’ braces, and this is mostly because these braces can’t be forgotten or taken out and this is most of the time the best option for young kids, and it expedites the process much faster.

There are other options besides fixed braces, but here is a short overview of the orthodontic appliances that are used on children patients:

  • Fixed braces — these are the normal braces that we all know very well that include metal or ceramic or even clear synthetic brackets on each tooth connected by a wire that tightens the teeth together in unison in order to create a proper alignment over a long period of time. After these braces are applied the child will have to go to frequent orthodontic appointments so that the wire can be tightened and adjusted so the process can go more smoothly, and elastic bands are used a lot in this process as well.
  • Headgear — this is an orthodontic appliance that helps with a lot of different developmental irregularities, and for the most part headgear is really great when it is aiding in tooth movement. A child would need to wear their headgear around 12-20 hours per day to receive good results, but because it is pretty big and not very aesthetic a lot of children wear their headgear while they sleep.
  • Retainers — these are what are given to most kids after their treatment is primarily over and they are in the retention phase of their treatment once their braces have been taken off. The progress and alignment from having braces can retract back to where it originally was pre-braces so it is important to wear the retainers on a daily basis or at night so that the child’s jawbone can grow around the newly aligned teeth and no further movement occurs.