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Orthodontics For Children: What To Expect

Orthodontic treatment is a common process that a lot of children go through, and it is estimated that 45% of children need braces to fix functional problems. Orthodontics can be used to treat a number of different issues, including the overcrowding of teeth and a misaligned bite. The aim of braces is to straighten the teeth, which can be good for both physical and mental health. If your child is about to go through the orthodontic treatment process, then use this article as a handy guide so you know what to expect.

Orthodontics For Children: What To Expect

First Appointment 

Your general dental practitioner will let you know if your child needs to see an orthodontist. Dentists will usually wait for all the adult teeth to come through before they refer out to an orthodontist, but they can refer early if treatment is more immediately needed. Your first appointment will likely be a mix of a consultation and a check-up of the teeth so they can determine a suitable treatment plan. 

Your orthodontist will tell you when your child needs braces and if they need them soon, they may take impressions at the first appointment. The age you should have braces will be determined by a number of factors. It could be that your child needs to wait for all their adult teeth to erupt, or they may need a few extractions before braces can be put on. All of this will be discussed in the first appointment, and you should go away with a complete treatment plan. 

Treatment Options

When it comes to orthodontic treatment for children, there are a couple of options. The first option, which may be the one you are familiar with, is fixed metal braces. Fixed metal braces are attached to the teeth with a wire running through, which is tightened over the course of treatment to gently align the teeth. Although they are not supposed to be painful, they can feel uncomfortable at first before you get used to them. Once the braces are on, there are some restrictions in what you can eat. It is best to avoid foods that are chewy, crunchy, or particularly hard as they can get potentially damage the brace. Regularly ignoring the rules and causing damage to the brace will result in a longer treatment process. Finally, once your braces are removed, you will be required to wear a clear retainer to maintain the position of the teeth. 

The next treatment option is clear aligners. Clear aligners look like retainers, and they work by gently putting pressure on your teeth to align them into place. You will get new aligners every few months over the course of the treatment to keep up with the movement of your teeth. This treatment option has become increasingly popular as not only do they look invisible compared to braces, but there are no food restrictions. You just need to remember to remove the aligners before mealtimes, and you can eat whatever you want. 

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