Pearl City, HI
For some children, braces come with a mixed bag of feelings.
For some children, braces are a rite of passage, something they have to, and in some cases, they are happy to go through to have their teeth aligned.
For some children, braces are a no-go, something that sets them apart from other kids, one they probably think is not aesthetically pleasing.
For the parents, though, the issues are much more than the aesthetics. As a parent that cares about the dental health of your children, you probably have many questions about kids' braces.
If you are wondering about braces, this ultimate guide to kids’ braces will definitely give you all the information you need.
At Oahu Pediatric Dentistry, we are always happy to help you navigate the tricky waters when it comes to seeking dental health and aesthetics, including orthodontics.
The first step in the information search is to understand what dental braces are.
In the simplest sense, dental braces are orthodontic devices that are used to align and straighten teeth. Braces help correct problems with teeth, including crooked teeth, crowding, and the alignment of teeth.
One can get braces at any age, but in most cases, braces are used to correct children's teeth. They gradually straighten and align teeth such that the user has a normal bite.
There are different types of braces, depending on the needs of the client.
Types of Braces
Traditional braces are typically made of metal.
They normally have brackets attached to the front surface of teeth or have bands that fit around every tooth.
They also have flexible wires that hold the brackets or bands together. Devices like headgear might also be included to provide additional pressure and align the teeth back together.
Ceramic braces are similar to traditional braces, except the brackets that were previously made of metal are now made of ceramic.
In most cases, the ceramic will be tooth-colored to ensure that they are not as noticeable.
There are also lingual braces, which are attached to the backs of teeth, and face the tongue. Since they are at the back of the teeth, they are harder to see.
Clear aligners, also referred to as invisible braces, are clear plastic trays that would fit snugly onto the teeth.
They use pressure to gently move teeth into the correct positions, straightening the smile and the bite of the patient.
The aligners should ideally be kept on for 22 hours per day, only to be removed to eat, floss, or brush your teeth.
In some cases, they might be further reinforced by the use of tooth-colored attachments, which help hold the aligners in place.
Braces for Kids
For parents with small kids, questions tend to arise about various aspects of the braces and the process.
Can you Get Braces with Baby Teeth?
The question of when can a child get braces is one of the most common questions parents have with their kids.
There is a common misconception that dental treatments like braces can only happen with permanent teeth.
The truth is, though, that kids can get braces with baby or primary teeth. In fact, there are several reasons why the use of braces should start as early as possible.
One of the reasons is crossbites. These happen when the upper jaw is narrow. Interceptive treatment is often necessary as early as possible, and should ideally take place when the baby teeth are still in.
Overbites might also necessitate the use of braces. Overbites happen when the upper front teeth protrude beyond the bottom front teeth.
Treatment should ideally start during early puberty, which can easily coincide with the period when baby teeth are still in place.
The crowding of teeth is another reason for the use of braces.
Many dentists will always start dental treatments when the last of the four molars are still in place.
This is because these last four molars will often be bigger than the teeth that replace them.
Early treatment when these last four are still in place allows the dentists to make use of the extra space when the baby teeth fall out and prevent crowding.
Can Braces Fix Pacifier Teeth?
Prolonged use of pacifiers can damage teeth.
Pacifiers given to children only when they need to fall asleep might not get in the way of tooth development.
However, when they are used beyond a certain age, typically three years old, the continued use can inhibit tooth development.
This results in a situation called pacifier teeth, which is characterized by a misalignment of the jaw development, possible changes to the roof or palate of the mouth, or inhibition to the growth and development of the primary teeth.
Braces are very effective at solving the kind of crooked teeth issues that are associated with pacifier teeth.
Braces easily straighten out these issues without causing any significant discomfort.
Furthermore, it is important to have these issues resolved at an early age, given that jawbone density decreases with age, increasing the chances of further overlap of teeth.
Differences Between Maintainers and Braces
One of the often-used alternatives to braces is space maintainers.
Unlike braces, they are a less permanent solution, and will typically be used on permanent teeth.
Space maintainers are used to hold space for permanent teeth when children lose their teeth prematurely.
They guide the permanent teeth into their proper position, preventing them from drifting into the space reserved for other teeth or from shifting in position.
Space maintainers can either be fixed or removable and are worn for a relatively short period compared to the braces.
There are two major differences between space maintainers and braces.
First, the space maintainers are only ever used on permanent teeth rather than baby teeth.
Secondly, space maintainers only solve a limited problem, that of shifting or drifting, compared to the braces that are used for a wider range of issues.
Braces for kids are an important part of the development of the teeth of children.
Oahu Pediatric Dentistry are committed to helping your kids solve problems with their teeth. Having braces fitted can be a complex process, especially for children that still have their baby teeth.
If you are in the Oahu area call (808) 201-9956 and schedule to see our team of professionals for a consultation for your child.