When you learn your child needs assistance from an orthodontic dentist to improve their tooth alignment, you’ll want information about the latest options for orthodontics. New developments in this field have produced more comfortable braces that take less time to align your teeth.
Why Should You Get Braces?
Children and adults need to get orthodontic appliances, or braces, for many reasons. The most common reason is the appearance of their teeth. Other than that, most children getting braces do so because of bite problems, such as underbite, overbite, or crossbite.
An overbite is when the lower teeth move in the back of the upper teeth and touch the top of the mouth. When the lower teeth cover the upper teeth during a smile, it’s called an underbite. Another alignment challenge is an open bite: when there’s a gap between the top and bottom teeth. Another reason is irregularly shaped teeth (or “crowding”,) which results in gaps between teeth or uneven spacing of the teeth.
The Diagnostic Procedure for Braces
When your child visits an orthodontist, they’ll do a series of dental X-rays and measurements of their mouth and teeth. While traditional dental X-rays have been used for many years, new technological methods now include 3D imaging and 3D digital scans. An advantage of 3D imaging is its ability to show how your child will look after your orthodontic treatment.
What Are Braces Made From?
Traditional braces are made of metal caps fastened onto the teeth. Wires attach the metal caps across the teeth. The orthodontist tightens those wires to gradually shift the teeth into proper alignment. Orthodontic patients with traditional braces must keep their braces on for an average of 2 years.
However, just as 3D imaging has changed the types of images available, 3D printing makes it possible to print clear plastic brackets. These 3D braces are more comfortable, and their fit is more precise. They can complete the alignment process in only 6-9 months. 3D printers can also print 3D resins, which are used for dental models or occlusal splints to separate teeth with severely poor alignment.
When Are Rubber Bands Placed on Braces?
With traditional braces, many orthodontists attach rubber bands across the front to intensify the pressure on the teeth. Two types of rubber bands are used: interarch bands and colored rubber bands. Both types have different functions.
Interarch bands help shift the position of the jawbone by placing pressure on the top and bottom teeth. Colored rubber bands are tiny and are used to hold the wires on the braces. Healthline’s current article reminds us the duration of rubber bands on your braces is variable – according to your child’s individual needs.
Invisalign System and Other Aligners
As an alternative to traditional braces, today’s dentists often recommend aligner systems like Invisalign. These clear removable aligners fit over your teeth and are more comfortable than braces. These aligners are worn for 20-22 hours daily and removed for eating and brushing your teeth. They’re replaced every 14 days. Invisalign usually takes 9-18 months.
When you’ve got braces, cleaning your teeth will seem more difficult. Using a water flosser (like a Water Pik) is a great way to keep the teeth clean when wearing braces. Some water flosser users report feeling relaxed after flossing.
More tips for caring for your teeth while wearing braces include daily flossing. Your teeth will accumulate small pieces of food that need floss to remove. While wearing braces, avoid sugar, which can cause plaque buildup. Your child should not use whitening toothpaste while using braces.
Wearing braces is necessary for children who have problems with tooth alignment. Today’s technology enables one to choose smaller and more comfortable braces. If braces don’t interest you or your child, you can opt for aligners like Invisalign. Explore all your options with your child’s orthodontist to make the right decision.