What a difference straight teeth can make! A great-looking smile can boost your self-confidence and have a positive impact on social and professional opportunities. Orthodontic treatment is the original smile makeover tool...

…and you’ll be happy to know that most children can take advantage of it! With significant advances in orthodontics, there’s an appliance available to meet every child's individual needs, helping them to attain straighter teeth.

How Do Ortho Appliances Work?

The amazing thing about orthodontics is that it will harness your child's natural ability to remodel their own tissue!

Teeth aren't fixed rigidly in their supporting bone. Instead, they're held in place by a hammock-like structure called the periodontal ligament, which is very responsive to forces placed on the teeth.

Orthodontic appliances move our dentition by careful application of light, constant pressure, gently reshaping the bone and repositioning our bite.

Benefits of Orthodontics vs. Other Cosmetic Dentistry Options

When considering your child's options to straighten their teeth, they could be offered treatments other than an orthodontic route.

Some common cosmetic dentistry treatments are bonding, veneers, dental crowns, and bridges, or even implants. While all of these may be possible, they work better for patients who want their teeth to be more aesthetically pleasing. These methods provide a nicer looking smile, but they require irreversible contouring to your natural teeth.

What if your child's teeth are already a nice size and shape? Maybe they could just benefit from being whiter and straighter. In this case, orthodontics, in combination with bleaching, is a perfect option.

During your child's consultation, we’ll do a thorough exam, address all of your concerns, and make our recommendations. Working together, we can help you and your child decide which option is best for their needs and help them attain a beautiful & healthy smile!

Benefits of Properly Aligned Teeth

Having a straight smile isn’t all about the looks. Properly aligned teeth have other benefits for your child.

  • Easier to clean
    Slanted and crooked teeth can be impossible to floss and brush. When our teeth are straight, it’s easier to keep them clean. This helps to prevent issues like tooth decay, and gum disease.
  • Fixing Bite Problems
    A misaligned bite can mean you’re putting too much pressure on certain areas. This can cause problems like wear, grinding, clenching and jaw pain. Straightening your teeth puts them in the proper biting position. Orthodontic treatments can resolve a number of bite issues, which often become evident by around the age of 7.

Common Bite Problems Include:

  • Underbite: Your lower front teeth are in front of your upper teeth. This is usually a jaw problem which causes pain and should be corrected.
  • Crossbite: With your teeth together, you see that some of your upper teeth are sitting behind your lower teeth, and others aren’t.
  • Excessive overbite (deep bite): When together, your upper front teeth are positioned in front of your lower front teeth. An overbite is normal but if the top teeth cover the majority of the bottom ones, this is called a deep bite. This condition causes a lot of wear.
  • Open bite: An opening remains between the top and bottom front teeth when the jaws are closed. This is most commonly seen in patients that were thumb suckers for a long period of time.
  • Crowding: The teeth are too close together and are often slanted or crooked. In this case, they’re hard to clean and can develop decay more easily. Gum infections can also occur, leading to periodontal disease.
  • Excessive spacing: Teeth are gapped, or too far apart. Again, this can make them hard to clean.

Types of Orthodontic Treatments

Some examples of orthodontic appliances are traditional metal braces, inconspicuous clear or tooth-colored braces, and clear aligners such as Invisalign.

When you imagine someone wearing braces, you probably picture small metal brackets bonded to the front of the teeth, with a thin wire running through them. This time-tested style remains very popular — but it's no longer the only option. Clear braces use brackets made of ceramic or plastic, which except for the slim archwire, are hardly visible.

Removable clear aligners such as Invisalign, are an alternative to fixed orthodontic appliances. They consist of a series of clear plastic “trays” that fit over your child's teeth exactly; each one will move your child's teeth a little bit until they are in the proper position.

If during your consultation we determine that your child would, in fact, benefit most from orthodontics, we will discuss which form is best for them to achieve the smile they want!

Straighter Teeth for Children — and Adults

Regular dental checkups are important in growing children because it helps us keep an eye on their development. If we see issues like crowding, orthodontics can be used to help guide your child's growing mouth, and help it develop correctly. Early intervention can also shorten the overall treatment time, and ensure the best result.

But remember, healthy teeth can be moved at any age. So it’s never too late for orthodontic treatment. In fact, about one in five of today's orthodontic patients are adults. Several technological developments — including tooth-colored ceramic braces and clear aligners — have made orthodontic appliances less evident. So now you don’t have to worry about how you’ll look, as an adult in metal braces. There are other options!

Post Orthodontic Care

Retention is critical in order to keep your child's new smile straight. This is because teeth naturally tend to drift out of position if they’re not made to be kept in place.

  • Retainer: This is a custom-made tray that fits snugly over your teeth. Wearing this while you sleep can help maintain your teeth in their current position.
    • Advantages: You don’t have to wear something permanently that doesn’t come out.
    • Disadvantages: You have to remember to wear it. If you don’t use it, your teeth will shift.
  • Lingual Wire: This is a thin stainless steel wire that is permanently bonded to the inside of your teeth. It essentially serves as a bridge which connects all of your teeth together, not allowing them to move.
    • Advantages: It’s always with you, so you don’t have to remember to wear it in order to keep your teeth straight.
    • Disadvantages: Collects a lot of food and can be hard to clean. Your tongue always feels it and you can’t remove it.

Once your child has completed their orthodontic treatment we’ll help you decide which form of retention is best. Though there may be some ups and downs about either option, you’ll need to help your child remain consistent with their maintenance regimen!

Contact Your Austin, TX Pediatric Dentist!

Feel free to fill out our appointment request form or contact one of our offices if you’d like to schedule a visit with us. We’re looking forward to seeing you!