Fix My Smile! Which Type of Braces Is Best For You?
Dental care has come a long way since we were kids. If you’re the parent of young teens or preteens, you are probably dreading the moment when your dentist tells you it’s time to think about braces. But thanks to recent advances, braces and orthodontic care have never been better and it’s never been easier to make sure your child has the perfect smile.
At the same time, this means there are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to the type of braces they will have. The choices may be overwhelming, and parents have to balance what’s best for their kids and what is affordable. At Grand Lake Dental, we understand it’s an important decision, and we’re here to help. That’s why today I’ll be discussing the various braces options and what you need to consider in terms of orthodontic care.
When is it time for my child to get braces?
You can see a lot of different advice on when to get braces, and the simple truth is that there’s no definitive answer that applies to everyone. Your dentist may recommend an age that is earlier than you might have expected, or later. But there’s one definite factor that will determine when the earliest start time would be: the age at which all of your child’s permanent teeth come in.
Obviously, prior to this time, it’s not possible to start your child on their braces. However, your dentist will most likely be watching how their adult teeth are coming in, and looking for signs that may indicate the need for braces, and might even be able to offer advice and care that can help mitigate the need for orthodontic care later on.
Most dentists will recommend looking into braces in between the ages of 8 and 14. Around the age of 7 or 8, it’s a good idea to have an orthodontic evaluation in order to get an idea of how your child’s teeth are developing, recommend any immediate actions that can be taken, and get an initial idea of when braces will be necessary.
It might even be possible to start in on an interceptive approach involving dental appliances, such as retainers, prior to full on braces. This may help shorten the amount of time braces will be required, or alleviate the need all together.
What are the different types of braces to choose from?
After your child has undergone his or her evaluation, your dentist or orthodontist can recommend what type of braces will work best for them. Here, I’ll take a look at the most common types of braces in use today.
Even though you might imagine traditional braces are just like they were twenty years ago, the truth is that there have been important advances that mean today’s braces, even the traditional ones, are lighter and less obtrusive. These braces are made from a high-quality stainless steel alloy. They are attached to the teeth using metal brackets and a special type of cement. Each bracket is connected by a thin archwire, which applies pressure to the teeth and slowly forces them into the correct alignment.
Ceramic braces work in a similar manner to tradition braces, but the material is a transparent ceramic material rather than steel. This means the braces are less noticeable. One drawback is that the elastics used with these braces can become discolored and mark the enamel of the teeth, requiring additional fluoride treatments. Because of their transparent appearance, these braces tend to be popular with adults who need orthodontic treatment.
The Damon system of orthodontics is recognized for being a fixed, passive, and self-ligating method of correcting malocclusions. It does not use elastic o-rings to hold the wires in place like other types of braces, allowing the wires to slide freely through the slots. This procedure is a popular one because the treatment is gentler, less painful, and requires fewer visits to the dentist. These braces produce faster results because the teeth can move on their own without needing to be adjusted. Another benefit is that these braces are easier to clean and thus there is a lower risk of cavities forming.
Clear and Removable Aligners
Invisalign is a trademarked procedure that can be used instead of the previously mentioned braces. They are custom-made, clear aligners that look similar to mouth guards. You can take them out while eating and brushing your teeth, and you get new ones every few weeks as your teeth gradually come into alignment. Once your teeth are in the desired position, you will continue wearing an aligner for a period of time while your teeth settle and stop moving.
If your child has a prominent overbite, it may be necessary to use a forsus appliance or similar gear. This is a type of device that has replaced headgear, and is popular because it is much less noticeable. The Forsus appliance involves spring coil rods being permanently fixed to the braces inside the mouth (as opposed to the external headgear). The metal spring is attached to the first upper molar on either side of the mouth, and then connected to the lower arch wire in between the canines and first bicuspids. This applies pressure that helps the lower jaw to move forward, while drawing the upper teeth backwards, correcting the overbite.
In some cases, a child will have too many teeth, or find that their teeth are fighting for room. This can be corrected with palatal expansion. A device is fitted to your palate that places pressure on your rear molars in order to gradually move your teeth farther apart. It will probably be used prior to or in conjunction with braces to create the desired alignment of teeth.
Your Grove, Oklahoma Orthodontic Specialist
While this is not a complete list of the types of orthodontic devices available today, it is a good overview of the most common methods. At Grand Lake Dental, Dr. Jobst and our entire staff are committed to working closely with all our patients to ensure the best possible outcomes. Your child’s dental health is important to us. Get in touch today to schedule your first consultation.