Having braces is more than just an integral adolescent experience; it’s the only way to give your kids the gift of a brilliant and straight smile. If you want your child to enter adulthood with a perfect, confident smile, you need to invest in braces for kids. And Brodie Bowman Orthodontics in Fort Walton Beach, FL, is the best place to help you and your child through the braces treatment process.
Braces for Kids FAQs
1. What Is the Best Age to Get Braces for Kids?
Orthodontists approach their job with the knowledge that every mouth is unique. The truth is, there is no “right age” for children to get braces. Traditionally, braces should start when a child has lost most of their baby teeth and most of their permanent teeth have grown in. This usually occurs between the ages of 8 and 14.
It is best that you bring your child in for an orthodontic evaluation by the age of 7 to evaluate what is happening with their teeth, its severity, and to help you determine when the best age is for your child to get braces.
If your child has severe issues with their teeth, your orthodontist may take an interceptive approach to braces, which involves using non-brace dental appliances at an earlier age, when your child still has baby teeth. The second step of treatment then happens when the child is older and gets braces for kids.
2. What Types of Braces Are Available for My Child?
When it comes to choosing the best braces for your child, there are several options.
Traditional Metal Braces
Metal braces are the most common type of braces, and they’re probably what you envision when you think of braces. The metal brackets and wires are attached to the outside of the teeth and work together to create movement.
One reason kids tend to like this kind of braces is because metal braces use rubber ligaments tied around the brackets. These rubber ties come in practically every color imaginable and are changed out with every appointment. That means your child can change the color of their braces to fit the holidays, seasons, or even their mood! It’s the perfect way for your child to personalize their braces to express themselves.
Ceramic braces are very similar to traditional braces, with one major difference: rather than being made from metal, they are constructed from ceramic. If your child is feeling self-conscious about having braces, ceramic braces might be the best option for them.
The ceramic material is white and easily blends into the teeth, making them much less noticeable. Rather than using colored bands like the traditional braces, ceramic braces use rubber ligaments that also blend into the teeth.
This type of braces can be made from ceramic or metal material and are similar to these other types of braces. However, rather than being positioned on the outside of the teeth, they are placed on the inside of the teeth. The purpose of this is to hide the braces from view; because they are placed on the opposite side, nobody should be able to see the braces.
Lingual braces are a great option for older kids or teens who are very concerned about their appearance and want braces that are even more invisible than ceramic braces.
These braces are also known as self-ligating braces, and they use a slide mechanism rather than elastic ligaments to connect the brackets to the archwires. Because these braces adjust themselves as your child’s teeth move, they can work faster than other braces and also require fewer trips to the orthodontist. They’re also easier than other types of braces to keep clean.
The best part about Damon braces is that they’re available in metal, ceramics, and lingual options. So no matter what kind of braces you and your child have determined is best for them, you can always choose to make them self-ligating. This is perfect for kids and parents who have busy schedules and don’t have the time to make so many visits to the orthodontist for adjustments.
3. What Are the Components That Make Braces?
No matter what type of braces you and your child choose, they have the same basic components that work together to effectively move your child’s teeth in the right direction. Depending on the type of braces you and your child decide on, the components will be made out of either metal or ceramic.
While there are additional pieces that can be added to your child’s braces based on their unique needs, these are the basic components that are used in nearly all braces for kids.
The orthodontic band is a ring that fits around your child’s backmost teeth, the molars. Bands come in many sizes, and Dr. Bowman will select the correct size for your child’s molars, then use dental instruments to give your child a custom fit. Bands have metal attachments welded into the side to allow the archwires to pass through.
Braces use brackets, which are a small square-shaped piece of metal or ceramic material. The brackets are attached to your child’s teeth using special dental cement. The brackets have a slot for the archwire to pass through. Based on what has been determined as your child’s treatment plan, your orthodontist may attach brackets to all the teeth, to only the upper or lower teeth, or on a select few teeth that need to be treated.
Archwires are semicircular wires that pass through each bracket on the teeth being treated and extend to the bands on the back molars, which act as an anchor for the entire system. The archwire works to exert pressure on the teeth to encourage ongoing repositioning.
To keep the archwire and brackets connected, and therefore exerting pressure on your child’s teeth, are elastic ligatures. They are tied around the bracket after the archwire has been inserted to keep everything in place. Ligatures can come in clear, to blend in with the teeth, silver, to blend in with traditional metal braces, or in a whole multitude of colors to help your child express their style.
Elastic ligatures are used on all types of braces except for Damon braces which replace the elastic ligatures with a slide mechanism.
4. How Do My Child’s Braces Work?
It’s commonly thought that braces work by simply moving the teeth within the gums, but the process is actually a lot more interesting than that! Your child’s teeth are moved into the correct position through a biomechanical process called remodeling. Remodeling happens because of the effect of the braces on the periodontal membrane, which surrounds the root of the tooth, and the alveolar bone, to which the membrane is attached. This creates both positive and negative pressure.
5. How Do Positive and Negative Pressure Change the Teeth?
Remodeling actually happens best when a gentle but constant force is applied. The pressure from the braces causes one side of the tooth to compress against the periodontal membrane, creating something called positive pressure. At the same time, the other side of the tooth will be experiencing the negative pressure of being pulled away from the periodontal membrane.
When this positive and negative pressure occurs, it results in two biological functions that remodel the bone of your child’s teeth: deposition and resorption.
On the side of each tooth experiencing the negative pressure, where they are being pulled away from the membrane, osteoblasts are produced. Osteoblasts are cells that grow bone. Basically, the tooth grows on that side to fill the room made available by the membrane being pulled away. Deposition is a relatively slow process that takes about three months to fully occur.
On the opposite side of the tooth, where positive pressure is being created by the tooth being pushed into the periodontal membrane, resorption happens. The positive pressure precipitates the production of osteoclasts, which are bone-destroying cells. In comparison, this process is relatively fast, happening in only a few days.
While it seems like your child’s teeth are simply being moved within their gums, each tooth is actually being broken down and rebuilt in the correct alignment. It’s amazing what our bodies, and our child’s bodies, are capable of!
6. How Do I Get Braces for My Kids?
If you want to look into braces for your child, call Brodie Bowman Orthodontics to schedule a consultation for your child. The best age to have a first consultation is when your child is 7, but that shouldn’t deter you from bringing your child in for an evaluation at a younger or older age if necessary.
At your consultation, you and your child will get to meet Dr. Bowman and his staff. He will examine your child’s teeth and bite to determine what unique issues they have and how he can best treat them. If your child hasn’t had x-rays taken recently, he will take some X-rays to better understand what is happening in your child’s mouth and to know what needs to be done to straighten their teeth.
After the consultation, Dr. Bowman will design a treatment specific to your child’s unique needs.
7. How Do Braces Get Applied to My Child’s Teeth?
You can expect that the first appointment you and your child have with Dr. Bowman will take much longer than any later ones because he needs time to place the braces. After ensuring that your child’s teeth are perfectly clean, Dr. Bowman will condition the surface of the teeth that are going to be treated. Then, he will use a special dental cement to attach the brackets to your child’s teeth.
After the cement is fully dry, he will insert the wire through the brackets and into the bands on your child’s back molars. Depending on the specific needs of your child’s teeth, he might bend the archwire or put kinks in it to create leverage over certain teeth. Once the wire is inserted, he will tie ligatures around each of the brackets to keep everything held together. If your kid loves to express themself, this is the perfect way for them to add a little attitude.
8. What Happens at Adjustment Appointments?
Adjustment appointments are aptly named because it mostly involves Dr. Bowman adjusting your child’s braces to help their teeth into perfect alignment. First, he will remove the rubber bands from around each of the brackets, then remove the archwire. He will either bend the archwire again and reinsert it or insert a totally new archwire into the brackets. With each adjustment, your child will get closer and closer to the perfect smile.
Get Started or Learn More
Whether you have a young child who you are looking to get assessed for orthodontic care early on, or you already know your older child, pre-teen, or teenager needs braces, it’s the perfect time to start your child on the path to a healthy and confident smile. Get your child on the path to success by starting them off right, with braces for kids.
To schedule a consultation, give us a call at Brodie Bowman Orthodontics in Fort Walton Beach, FL.