Orthodontics and braces
Any orthodontic problem may be classified as a malocclusion, which means there is a problem in the way upper and lower teeth fit together. If your child has one of the following problems, it may be helped or minimized with proper orthodontic treatment:
- misaligned, crooked, or crowed teeth
- missing teeth
- extra teeth
- an overbite
- an underbite
- misaligned or incorrect jaw position
- a disorder of the jaw joint
At what age do braces become appropriate?
In most cases, the ideal age for a child to get braces and other orthodontic treatments is between 10 and 14.
Braces, also called fixed orthodontic appliances, have several components, including the following:
- brackets, metal or plastic, clear or tooth-colored, that are bonded to teeth
- bands that wrap around the teeth - usually used in the back of the mouth
- wires to move the teeth into the desired positions
- elastics, springs and other auxiliaries to aid in treatment
Recommendations that will help to eliminate, or reduce, any oral health problems while your adolescent's teeth are in braces
- Make certain that your teen is brushing his teeth carefully after every meal with fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush, as food becomes easily lodged in the braces.
- Make certain that your teen is flossing daily and reaches all spots between the teeth and the braces.
- Maintain twice yearly cleanings by your adolescent's dentist or orthodontist.
- Limit your teen's sugar and starch intake, as debris left behind from these types of foods may turn into damaging acids, which may be harmful to teeth and gums and promote plaque formation.
- Avoid hard and/or sticky snacks that may be difficult to remove from the orthodontic equipment in your adolescent's mouth; this includes foods like popcorn, hard- or chewy candy, caramel and nuts.