During your child’s regular checkups, we will continually monitor the development of their jaws and teeth. If we do see any problems with tooth misalignment or with jaw growth, we will recommend they see an orthodontist for a proper evaluation. Sometimes an orthodontic evaluation can take place as early as age five.
An orthodontist won’t necessarily recommend treatment at this stage, but they can produce a treatment plan identifying the optimal age for your child to wear braces. If your child does have early orthodontic treatment, it may involve using pre-eruption guidance appliances, which are different from ordinary braces.
An orthodontist is a dental specialist and can analyze your child’s teeth and jaws, quickly determining if there are any problems or if any issues are likely to develop in the future.
Our orthodontist can provide the most up-to-date and effective treatment to straighten crooked teeth and at the most appropriate times, often taking advantage of jaw growth and development. They can design and fit braces for kids, including affordable braces options. It is common to see teens with braces, and there are several types of dental braces available for teenagers. Seeing an orthodontist will ensure they receive the best braces for their needs.
Orthodontic treatment will give your child a more cosmetically perfect smile and can also help to create a nicer facial profile by guiding tooth and jaw development. Although braces can help to create a more aesthetically appealing smile, this is often not their only purpose.
Orthodontic treatment can create a healthier smile too. Straighter teeth are much easier to brush thoroughly as the toothbrush can easily reach all visible tooth surfaces compared with teeth that are crooked and overlapping. Flossing is also much easier as tightly packed teeth or teeth which are overlapping are often difficult to floss effectively.
When your child can clean their teeth properly, they are far less likely to develop common dental diseases like tooth decay and gum disease.
Gum disease, in particular, is increasingly linked with serious health problems that include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, dementia, and respiratory diseases. Ensuring your child has a straight, healthy smile that is easy to maintain can help protect their overall health too.
Braces can be fixed and removable and are orthodontic appliances custom-designed to apply pressure to the teeth and jaws, helping to guide them into a more desirable location. They are made from stainless steel or ceramic or plastic materials. Some braces use a combination of different materials.
Fixed braces have brackets made from metal or ceramic materials and which are bonded onto teeth for the duration of treatment. The brackets hold very thin wires that are frequently powered by using elastic bands. Other brace brackets are self-ligating and need no elastic bands, automatically tightening the wires, so teeth gradually move into their correct locations.
Another brace component that may be used is called a temporary anchorage device, which is a mini screw that can be temporarily fixed to bone in the mouth, providing an anchorage point to apply more force for straightening teeth. Using these devices can provide orthodontists with more predictable control over tooth movements.
Headgear is where the brace is attached to an appliance that fits around the head and which is removable. Headgear is used when more force is needed to move the jaws and teeth but is only generally worn during sleep or at home.
Using fixed braces is a traditional and highly effective method of teeth straightening, providing reliable and predictable results. The braces work continuously to straighten teeth and are excellent for correcting more complex orthodontic problems.
Stainless steel braces are affordable braces that are strong and durable. Many children will customize the appearance of their braces by using different colored elastics. However, some children are more self-conscious about wearing kids’ braces and will find a less visible option more appealing.
Braces that have ceramic brackets that are clear or tooth-colored are far less visible. The brackets are powered by thin wires that are sometimes also tooth-colored. The overall effect is very discreet. However, ceramic braces are more expensive, and the ceramic brackets aren’t always as durable as metal.
Just like any new dental appliance, fixed braces will feel a little strange initially. After they are first fitted, it is usual to experience some discomfort as pressure is applied to teeth, pushing them toward their new positions. Usually, the discomfort will subside after the first few days and is easily controlled with over-the-counter painkillers. Otherwise, our pediatric dentist or orthodontist can adjust the brace so it fits more comfortably.
Some foods are less easy to eat while wearing braces or are best avoided altogether. These include foods that are very sticky or hard and which could become trapped around the brace brackets and wires or may damage the brackets and wires. Foods to avoid include sticky candies and harder foods like nuts and popcorn. Other foods like crunchy carrots and apples can be enjoyed by cutting into small pieces and using the back teeth to chew them thoroughly.
If your child has fixed braces, it’s important to make sure they care for them correctly. It’s critical that they clean around the brackets and wires thoroughly after each meal as food and plaque bacteria can easily become trapped in the appliance. Failing to clean their brace properly could lead to tooth discoloration around the brackets and increases the risk of tooth decay and gum disease developing during treatment.
While looking after fixed braces will require a bit more care, it isn’t tricky. Dr. Tracy or Dr. Igor will make sure your child knows how to clean around the brackets and wires thoroughly, demonstrating the proper techniques and tools to use for brushing and flossing.
If your child breaks or damages a wire or a bracket, please get in touch with us immediately so we can arrange for the brace to be repaired. Delaying repairs could delay treatment, and the brace must be mended professionally to ensure the brackets and wires are reattached correctly. If a broken wire or other brace component is sticking into your child’s cheek or gum, use a pencil eraser to try to bend it out of the way and cover it with a small piece of orthodontic wax or use a piece of sugar-free chewing gum to cover the wire.
It is becoming increasingly common for teens with braces to have removable solutions. Removable braces can also be suitable for some older children who can be trusted to wear them correctly. The huge advantage of having a removable brace is its appearance. Removable braces consist of clear aligner trays made from very thin plastic. The aligner trays are custom designed to fit tightly over the teeth, applying pressure to specific teeth, so they move in the correct directions, gradually straightening your kid’s smile.
If needed, the aligner trays are used with other components called attachment points that are bonded onto your kid’s teeth and which are made from tooth-colored composite resin. These attachment points help the aligner trays apply more pressure to specific teeth, directing tooth movements more accurately. Because the attachment points are made from tooth-colored resin, they are very hard to see and are only really visible when used on the front teeth. Even then, you need to look closely to spot them. We remove the attachment points from teeth at the end of treatment.
Aligner trays may also have wear indicators towards the back of the aligner trays, and which are colored and gradually fade with use. These allow parents and caregivers and our orthodontist to check the aligners are worn properly. If your child is forgetful and less likely to use the aligners regularly, it may be preferable for them to have fixed braces where they cannot forget to wear them.
Treatment consists of wearing a series of aligner trays, where each set is worn for approximately two weeks. After this time, your child throws away that set of aligners, moving onto the next set to continue tooth movements. It is critical to make sure your child wears the aligners for at least 22 hours each day. Wearing the aligners for less could delay or change the treatment plan. Ideally, they will only remove the aligners for eating or drinking anything other than water or for oral care.
Initially, when wearing a new set of aligners, it’s normal to feel a little pressure or discomfort. Any discomfort is easily controllable with over-the-counter painkillers and should soon disappear after the first few days. When your child first begins wearing their aligners, they may feel a bit strange, and it could take them a day or two to get used to speaking with them. If your child plays a wind or brass instrument, it may be more comfortable for them to remove the aligners while playing, so long as they reinsert them immediately afterward.
Because the aligners are removable, they are very easy to care for using either a proprietary cleaner designed specifically for the aligners or by brushing and rinsing them gently whenever they are removed. Your child will be able to continue brushing and flossing their teeth normally, and there is no need for any dietary restrictions. However, they must remove their aligners when they have a meal or something to drink as otherwise, there is a risk the aligners will become stained and unsightly.
Children wearing aligners will need to come and see us regularly so we can check treatment is progressing correctly. Also, we can supply additional sets of aligners as needed
The length of time needed for treatment varies considerably according to the problems needing correction. It also depends on how well your child copes with treatment and their growth. Usually, children may need to wear braces for anywhere from 18 months to 36 months. Sometimes the time needed may be shorter and especially if they received an initial or first stage of orthodontic treatment when they were younger and which has already corrected some tooth alignment problems. The second stage of treatment will focus on correcting more cosmetically oriented problems and creating a more aesthetically appealing smile.
After completing braces treatment, your child will need to wear a retainer as otherwise, the teeth will start to drift back toward their original positions, wasting everyone’s hard work and marring a beautiful smile. A braces retainer prevents these movements, holding teeth in their new positions as the bone around the tooth roots gradually remodels, helping to hold teeth more firmly in place.
Initially, a retainer must be worn virtually all the time. Once the bone has remodeled around the teeth, there is still a risk of what is called orthodontic relapse. A relapse can occur if the retainers are not worn as directed by our orthodontist. Ideally, a retainer is used for life, even for just a night a week.
A braces retainer can consist of a single wire fitted onto the inner surfaces of teeth. The wire is bonded permanently in place, so teeth cannot move. However, care is needed to clean around the retainer thoroughly.
After wearing removable braces, it is possible to have a removable retainer. The retainer is made from the same clear plastic as the aligner trays, so it is virtually invisible and just as easy to wear and use.
We can discuss the most suitable retainer to use with you and your child and provide full instructions on their use and maintenance.
In our pediatric dentistry center in Brooklyn we offer a wide variety of affordable braces for kids and teens. Come visit our center and meet Dr. Khabensky DDS and Dr. Kim DDS. Our doctors provide personalized and comprehensive care and use natural techniques and organic measures whenever possible.
Pediatric Dentistry Center
2148 Ocean Ave, Ste 401A
Brooklyn, NY 11229