When patients visit our kids orthodontist office, we evaluate the condition and position of the teeth and jaw. By conducting a physical examination and taking X-rays we can determine where teeth placement and jaw alignment. We can also see if braces will be a necessary treatment for straightening the teeth. If braces are necessary, we will come up with a treatment plan that is specific to each patient.
When it comes to children, we typically recommend traditional metal braces that are more durable than other options. Since metal braces are smaller and more comfortable than in the past, children find that they are easy to wear and clean. In fact, they can be fun to wear since children can select the color of rubber bands that are placed around the brackets.
The treatment time varies from person to person. Typically, a child will wear braces for around 2 years. On rare occasions, they may need braces longer due to a jaw abnormality and not the actual position of the teeth. We provide care during this entire process. As long as the patient keeps all pre-scheduled appointments, there will not be any significant delays.
Retainers are worn after the fact
As a kids orthodontist, we tend to prescribe retainers for patients to wear after removing the braces. There is a common misconception that once the teeth are straight, that is the end of the story. This is not the case. It is important to note that braces move teeth gradually from their crooked position. The process that takes constant pressure on the teeth, that is no longer present after removing the braces.
While not drastic, these changes will negatively impact the smile. A retainer can prevent teeth from moving backward and destroying the work of the braces. In many cases, a child will only need to wear the retainer at night.
Types of retainers
There are two main types of retainers. One type of retainer is a clear plastic retainer that we create from a mold of the teeth. Patients can wear this type of retainer during the day or at night without being obvious since it is clear. The patient needs to rinse this type of retainer on a regular basis and clean it using a special cleaner that we provide. As long as the patient keeps this up, the retainer will remain virtually invisible. Thus, the child or teen will be comfortable wearing it, even in public.
The other type of retainer uses a metal wire that we secure to a base that fits on the roof of the mouth. It is also removable but since it has a metal wire, it will be more noticeable. There are pros and cons to both types, which we can discuss during a consultation.
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Visit our office to speak with a kids orthodontist about braces and retention.
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