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Close-up view of a child's braces

Did you know that about 1/4th of all people with braces are children? Millions of Americans receive orthodontic treatment for bite and alignment correction and for straightening the teeth. However, adults require treatment differently and for longer than a child would need, and child orthodontics have different goals for patients than adult orthodontics do. Both of these areas of orthodontics differ, but are also very similar in techniques used to create a beautiful smile.

 

Orthodontic Treatment

Orthodontic treatment is one of the easiest ways to help improve your health. Braces can help correct major oral health problems and can help avoid dental emergencies in the future. In children and adults, braces straighten the teeth so that they are aligned properly for speech, eating, biting and more. Straighter teeth are easier to clean and easier to manage, which leads to better health. Teeth must come in at specific places in the mouth for both children and adults. Child orthodontics focuses on that proper bite and tooth placement, and adult orthodontics seeks to improve the look of a smile.

 

Child Orthodontics

Did you know that children often wear braces, only to get them again as adolescents? Child orthodontics is a popular orthodontic option for at least 1/4th of braces wearers. Dentistry has been around enough centuries to know that the teeth, bite, alignment and growth happen in a specific way. Teeth must come in at the right spot and must be aligned in a specific manner in the jaw. As a child begins to get their baby teeth, some may be crooked. Depending on oral health conditions, and problems such as thumb-sucking, the shape of the teeth and bite can change.

 

Some children will have teeth that protrude outward, inward, or teeth that are in various directions. This leaves them open to the risk of broken or fractured teeth, tooth decay and problems with speech and development. Child orthodontics is the first phase of getting braces early. It focuses on getting the jaws lined up correctly and the teeth resting on each other in the right way. Once that happens, the baby teeth can fall out and the adult teeth can smoothly come into place. Child orthodontics will correct the major issues a child’s mouth has when they are around 7 or 8 years old. Starting at 11 and later, braces will seek to make the teeth look more attractive.

 

Young girl patient having her teeth and braces examined by an orthodontist

Adult Orthodontics

Most people think that teens make up the majority of patients with braces. However, adult orthodontics is very popular as well, with about 1/4th of all orthodontic patients being adults. There are more adults wearing orthodontic appliances than you realize, especially because of the “invisible options” they have that children don’t have.

 

Adults have a harder time with straightening their teeth than children do. By adulthood, the mouth and jaws have stopped growing, making them less moldable than a child’s jaws. The treatment that would have been easy for a child may take twice as long for an adult, or may require surgical orthodontics to achieve a straight smile, or proper bite and alignment. However, adults get the benefits of Invisalign treatment and lingual braces, which most children can’t have.

 

Invisalign is an “invisible” straightening option for adults and teens that uses a strong, clear aligner to straighten the teeth. Digital scanning creates customized aligners that a patient changes out ever 1-2 weeks, which slowly shift the teeth into their proper place. This invisible option allows adults and teens to brush, floss, eat and play sports without brackets and wires in the way. Lingual braces is another “invisible” straightening option. It has metal brackets and wires, except they’re placed on the back of the teeth. Only an adult can use these, as the baby teeth are not large enough for lingual braces to fit. Both adult orthodontics and child orthodontics correct bite, alignment and tooth issues, but the options available to the two age groups differ slightly.

 

Young boy with braces and headgear to correct bite and alignment problems

Why Choose Either Option?

When considering orthodontic treatment, there are various aspects you have to think about that include cost, health changes, aesthetic appeal and more. Many people think that braces are very expensive, when they are actually quite affordable. Your family may even save more money over time because of the oral health problems that are avoided by proper orthodontic treatment. A major reason so many people have orthodontic treatment is that they want to improve their smiles. Not only does a straight smile look beautiful, but it helps patients feel more confident. Studies show that child orthodontics helps children feel more confident in school and they do better academically.

 

Braces can correct speech problems caused by bite and alignment issues. They can straighten the teeth, making them easier to clean, and thus reducing problems with tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath. People socially perceive patients in a more positive way if their smiles are straighter and healthier. No matter if you choose orthodontic treatment for aesthetic appeal or for health reasons, the benefits are worth the time, effort and money you put into your treatment.

 

Conservative Treatment

Dr. Hardy practices a conservative approach to orthodontic treatment. While it is important for children to have an early orthodontic assessment to look for serious dental concerns (around age 7), the majority of children will not require orthodontic treatment before age 11. Your child might need child orthodontics or they may only need orthodontic treatment as a teen. Some people are naturally born with straight teeth that don’t pose them a problem, or their teeth start to shift later on in life. Whether your child needs child orthodontics or you need adult orthodontics, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016 for your free consultation!