Children and Orthodontics
Types of Braces and Other Appliances continued...
Headgear: Some people can benefit from using headgear. The appliance is attached to the braces from the back of the head and can be removed. As with rubber bands, headgear are used when extra force is needed to move the teeth and jaws. If a headgear is needed, it usually only has to be worn at night while sleeping or at home.
Retainers: Retainers are used to keep teeth in place once braces are removed. It takes time for your teeth to settle into their new position. By wearing a retainer, you can prevent your teeth from shifting. Some retainers may be removable. Others are fixed -- bonded behind your teeth. Some retainers are made of clear plastic and metal wires. Others are made of rubber. And like braces, retainers can make a statement if you choose. There are glow-in-the-dark retainers or retainers customized with a picture.
Can a dentist provide orthodontic treatment instead of an orthodontist?
For mild problems, a dentist may be able to correct the issue. But, if more extensive orthodontic work is needed, it is best to see an orthodontist. An orthodontist has two to three years of advanced orthodontic education and training beyond dental school. He or she specializes in straightening teeth, correcting misaligned bites, and jaw problems.
When should my child see an orthodontist?
Your dentist can tell you when to seek evaluation from an orthodontist. The American Association of Orthodontists and the American Dental Association recommend all kids be evaluated for orthodontics by age 7.
By this age, the orthodontist can detect subtle problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth. Most kids begin active treatment between the ages of 9 and 14.
Orthodontists recommend you correct dental problems while your child is still growing. Once they stop growing, treatment may take longer and require more extensive work.