We understand that children and adults have different needs. Although most people associate braces with children and teenagers, there are more and more adults who turn to orthodontic professionals to fix their dental alignment concerns.
Whether your child or teenager would benefit from dental alignment, or you want to regain your once bright smile, know that there are many types of orthodontic appliances available and ready to fit your demands and desires.
Braces for Children
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends having your child examined by an orthodontist by the age of seven. Interceptive orthodontic treatment (i.e. Phase I treatment) is about identifying potential future dental alignment problems and correcting them early on. Why age seven? At that age, your child’s mouth is developed enough for an orthodontist to spot any emerging issues.
Early orthodontic treatment comes with a series of benefits for your child’s health, such as:
- The possibility to correct bad habits, such as thumb sucking or tongue thrusting
- The ability to tell how permanent teeth are going to develop and erupt
- The chance to correct any biting problems (like deep bite, cross bite, etc.)
- Maintaining your child’s smile and increasing his/her self-esteem
- Creating a more harmonious arrangement of lips, jaw, and teeth
- Help improve minor speech issues
- Creating more space for crowded teeth
- Preventing future dental concerns
There are many reasons why kids need braces. Because sometimes it’s hard for parents to tell if their child is dealing with a dental problem, a first visit to the orthodontist is required early on so that they determine if a treatment is needed and what appliances would be suitable. Remember, the earlier the better. It is possible that they don’t need to start a treatment right away. During the first orthodontic visit, the orthodontist will examine the child’s mouth, teeth, and jaws, ask questions about family dental history, and use X-rays if necessary.
Here is how parents can tell if they need to take their child to an orthodontist:
- Difficulties in biting or chewing food
- Thumb sucking
- Mouth breathing
- Popping jaws
- Crowded, crooked, or misplaced teeth
- Teeth or jaws that are not proportionate to the rest of the face
- Losing baby teeth too early or too late
- Crowded front teeth
In case your child needs to wear orthodontic appliances in order to correct dental problems, make sure you talk to them about the importance of taking care of their appliance, as well as what this means for their overall health.
Braces for Teenagers
Wearing braces is most common among teenagers. Ages 12-14 are the most appropriate for starting this kind of dental treatment, and an early examination may save your teen from future dental problems. Data shows that 70% of American teens need orthodontic treatment. Every teen fancies impressing others with an excellent smile, and they oftentimes look forward to braces, despite the discomfort associated with braces in the past.
There is no need to worry: braces are not as scary as they appear, and they surely don’t have as bad of a reputation as in the past. You will still be able to do the things you enjoy, play your favorite sport, or play that trumpet, and your friends will still like you. Treatment will not go on forever, and it will make you a more confident person in the end, with a smile to envy. Yes, you may need to adjust a few things, such as being more careful with your diet and taking great care of your appliances, but this won’t stand in the way of you having fun and living life to the fullest.
For teenagers who have strong cosmetic concerns and feel more uncomfortable at the thought of having to wear braces, there is the option of getting Invisalign® and other branded aligners. No one will know that your teen is wearing these appliances because they are invisible, as well as removable. However, clear aligners are recommended for less complicated alignment problems, so choose with care.
If you are still worried about the impact this could have on your teenage years, remember that you can now use braces to make a fashion statement and have your colors changed with your appointments.
Braces for Adults
Although many people associate wearing braces with teenagers, one in five patients is an adult receiving orthodontic treatment, and the number continues to rise. Due to recent innovations in technology, adults now have more options to choose from, making it more comfortable pursuing this kind of treatment.
Differences Between Adults and Kids’ Treatments
We all know that adults and children have distinct needs and, therefore, require customized treatments. At F&S, we understand these needs and strive to give every patient a suitable treatment that will enable them to achieve a confident smile.
The primary difference with adult treatment is that the jaws are fully developed, and bones are more dense. This is one reason why treatment is usually slower for adults than for kids; however, it demands the same level of attention and proper care of the appliances. Other differences include gum or bone loss and worn or missing teeth, issues which can be improved with orthodontic treatment.
Many adults are concerned with the comfort of their braces or about their general appearance. Think about how confident you’ll feel with your new, shiny smile. Remember that straight teeth are healthy teeth.
Reasons Why Adults Seek Orthodontic Treatment
Here are some reasons why adults may need braces:
- Crooked or overcrowded teeth
- They wore braces as teens but haven’t completed their treatment or worn retainers
- They want straighter and healthier teeth, as well as a brighter smile
- Malocclusion or biting issues
- Jaw pain
Considering the level of severity of your dental problems, the orthodontist will decide which braces best suit your needs. One very popular option today is Invisalign® or clear aligners, which are not noticeable at all. This course of treatment may help adults who are more concerned with esthetics. There are also other comfortable types of braces you can wear, with various sizes, shapes, colors, and materials to choose from, customized to ease your life. So, don’t worry about the visual aspect: braces no longer have the “metal mouth” reputation they once did.
At F&S, our team makes sure to cater to the needs of each patient with adequate orthodontic options. Please don’t hesitate to contact us and schedule an appointment if you wish to learn more about braces for all ages.
Traditional (Metal) Braces
These are the braces that most people have come to associate with the word “braces.” With advances in science and technology, the once heavy appliances have gradually turned into lighter and less noticeable modern brackets, making them much more comfortable to wear. Moreover, teenagers and adults alike may now choose bands of their favorite color, giving them a chance to express themselves.
These braces are made of high-grade stainless steel and have metal brackets linked with thin archwires, which put pressure on the teeth. There is a new wire feature – heat-activated archwires – which helps move your teeth faster and less painfully by using your body heat to increase wire tension.
These type of braces are very popular among adults seeking orthodontics treatment. Ceramic braces come in similar shapes and sizes as the metal versions and work in the same way. The most significant difference is the material, which makes them far less visible. As the name suggests, they are made from transparent ceramic materials that can easily blend with the teeth. The only downside is that the elastics holding the wires in place may stain easily, so patients must pay extra attention to pigments in their diets.
InOvation (Ceramic and Metal) Self-Ligating Braces
InOvation braces represent an innovative tool in the orthodontic market. Unlike traditional braces, which require the use of elastics to connect the archwires and braces, InOvation braces are provided with a frictionless, sliding door mechanism, allowing your teeth to align at a faster pace and move more freely. There is no wonder these self-ligating braces are highly popular today, and we at F&S are proud to use self-ligating brackets on all of our patients with fixed bracketing treatments. Although they are basically made from the same traditional brace materials and come in similar sizes, self-ligating braces are designed to be more discreet and keep you more comfortable.
Invisalign® and ClearCorrect® are another ‘braces’ option patients have. These consist of clear plastic aligners, which are invisible or clear, comfortable, and especially designed and custom-fabricated for you. They are also removable, so you can enjoy your favorite foods and drinks during your treatment without a problem.
Brushing and flossing are two activities that are basically essential for impeccable oral hygiene. During orthodontic treatment, hygiene maintenance may become slightly more complicated, but no worries. If you’re not sure how to brush and floss your teeth properly while wearing braces, we will show you how.
Here are a few tips on how to brush and floss appropriately when you wear braces:
You can start by removing bands, elastics, or other removable components of your appliances, and then give your braces a thorough cleaning. It is highly recommended that you brush with a fluoride paste at least two times a day (preferably after each meal) and for about two minutes each time. It is particularly important to carefully clean all areas where food debris may be trapped, including at the gum line.
You may start by using waxed floss of about 18 inches long; a floss threader would also come in handy. All you need to do is floss very carefully around the braces, the gum areas, as well as around each tooth; flossing WILL NOT break your braces.