Most parents think that braces are bonded to their children’s teeth for aesthetic reasons. Yet, straight teeth effectively help in chewing, speaking and maintaining the health of the oral cavity. On the other hand, untreated orthodontic problems can lead to serious dental and gum problems.
Orthodontic treatment in most children begins between the ages of 9 and 12. However, there are cases where it can start earlier, at the age of 6 or 7, when the problem is not in the teeth but in the jaws (eg narrow palate or jaw malocclusion). In this case, early orthodontic (skeletal) treatment is required, which should begin when the child is young.
Braces work by applying constant and continuous pressure for some time, so that they gradually move the teeth in a certain direction. As the teeth move, so do the positions of the jaws.
The mechanical procedure used for orthodontic tooth movement is the same for all ages. This means that the benefits of Orthodontics are not limited to children, but apply to adults too. The difference is that because in adults the bone no longer grows, more specialized orthodontic procedures may be needed to achieve the same result.
The duration of the treatment with braces varies from patient to patient and depends on the severity of the problem, the space available or the distance the teeth have to cover to reach their final positions. Also, the health of the teeth, gums and bone that support them as well as the degree of cooperation between the patient and the doctor will determine the duration of the orthodontic treatment.
On average, when the braces are inserted they usually last from one and a half to three (1.5-3) years. When they come out, patients should wear retainers/positioners for a long time, according to the orthodontist’s instructions.
When the braces come out, a thorough cleaning of the teeth will be done. Your orthodontist may ask you to have a new panoramic Xray to check the results of the treatment and the location of the wisdom teeth. If the wisdom teeth have not erupted by the end of the treatment, the orthodontist may suggest that you remove them, so that they do not press on the other teeth and erode them again.
Then your orthodontist will give you a retention splint for each jaw, which you should wear at home and during sleep for the first six months and then only during sleep. This is necessary as the teeth tend to move to their original position over time.
Do not delay the visit to the orthodontist waiting for the child to have all their permanent teeth erupted (at the age of 12-13 years). This delay can aggravate problems which can be easily and quickly corrected with early intervention at a younger age.
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