Orthodontic treatment is necessary for the majority of children and teens. It is rare for anyone’s teeth to come in perfectly straight with the top and bottom teeth aligned. There are a variety of orthodontic treatments, the most common of which is braces.
If your child needs orthodontic treatment, you probably have some questions, such as how long braces take and what different treatments are available. Here’s what you need to know.
What Are Braces?
Braces consist of brackets and wires that shift the teeth into proper alignment. The brackets attach to each tooth with an archwire connecting them all together. The archwire is used to push and pull the teeth into the ideal position for optimal dental and oral health. Braces treatment may also include the use of elastics (rubber bands) to exert additional force on the teeth when significant adjustments are needed.
How Do I Know if My Child Needs Braces?
It is recommended that all children have an orthodontic evaluation by the age of 7. Pediatric dentists will periodically monitor your child’s orthodontic health during routine oral examinations and teeth cleanings. If your child needs early treatment, it will be recommended around the age of 7 or 8. Otherwise, orthodontic treatment typically begins between the ages of 10 and 14.
Are There Any Alternatives to Braces?
The most common alternative to traditional braces is Invisalign. This treatment uses clear plastic aligners to shift the teeth into the proper position. A set of aligners are created with subtle differences between each one so that the teeth are gradually shifted. Each aligner is worn for about 2 weeks before switching to the next in order. Periodic monitoring of your progress will ensure that the treatment is working effectively. Children and teens often prefer Invisalign to braces because it is discreet, comfortable, and removable.
Average Length of Braces Treatment
On average, braces take anywhere from 1-3 years to achieve the desired results. The average treatment time is about 2 years for the majority of patients. The exact length of braces treatment depends on the complexity of your case and how long it takes to make the necessary movements to align your teeth and bite.
Average Length of Invisalign Treatment
Invisalign treatment typically takes somewhere between 6 and 18 months. It works faster than braces mostly because it is only effective for mild to moderate cases. Severe orthodontic cases will require braces in order to make the necessary adjustments to the teeth, meaning patients who need braces will likely have a longer treatment time.
Some Dentists Offer Invisalign
Another benefit of Invisalign is that it is often available through your dentist’s office without the need for an orthodontic referral. Attleboro Pediatric Dentistry offers Invisalign for children and teens who are eligible for this treatment. After a brief evaluation we can determine whether or not your child is a good candidate for Invisalign.
Frequently Asked Questions About Orthodontics
What are the benefits of orthodontic treatment?
Many parents question the importance of orthodontic treatment, to which we respond by pointing out the many benefits. Properly aligned teeth not only look better, but they are easier to keep clean, less likely to be damaged, and allow for proper chewing and speech development.
What are the negative consequences of forgoing orthodontic treatment?
When a child does not get the orthodontic treatment they need, they are prone to cavities, jaw pain, headaches, and cracked or worn down teeth. The teeth may not last for their lifetime due to damage. Orthodontic treatment is more effective in the adolescent years when the jaw and face is still growing.