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Dental braces for children

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When a child’s permanent teeth come out, all parents worry about the position of the teeth. Will they line up on their own or dental braces will be necessary ?

An early diagnosis is the key for a successful orthodontic treatment. From 6 years old (for certain cases from 3 years old), if signs of criticality are noted, it is important to have the child examined by the dentist to verify that the child’s dental growth is correct.
However, orthodontics is not only for teenagers and adults.

When do we have to consider orthodontics treatment for kids?

Treatment cam begin when most of the permanent teeth have already come out (between 10 and 14 years old) but it is possible to start around the age of 7-8 years, provided by a medical reason. It depends of the problem and the way the permanent teeth emerge.

Adults can also achieve excellent results. However, children and teenagers have an advantage: their jaws and teeth are still developing. Orthodontics is more effective in children because it is easier to move a child’s teeth than for adults. That is why orthodontics in children is so common.

Orthodontic treatment at a young age has the following advantages::

  • They are a growth guide for the jaw
  • They put teeth in the right position when come out.
  • They reduce the risk of injury to the teeth
  • Sufficient space is created for the incoming teeth
  • The possibility of teeth getting stuck under the gums is reduced.
  • They improve facial aesthetics
  • They contribute to the child’s good oral health

There are different many types of orthodontics treatment for children, such as traditional braces or Invisalign invisible aligners.

Invisalign braces are completely imperceptible, yet highly effective and more comfortable than traditional braces. In addition, the clear brackets can be removed for eating and brushing. Their discretion is their strong point, many teenagers between 11 to 14 choose them. Nowadays, the most popular alternative to traditional braces is Invisalign Teen (or the First version, designed for children froé 6 to 12 years old).
It is the most prestigious brand of invisible aligners for teenagers.

Children's braces : what are the benefits for children ?

Orthodontic treatment for children indicated are aesthetic (maxillary and mandibular prognathism) or functional (mouth breathing or speech defects). It is usually the dentist, who recommends a thorough examination by a specialized orthodontist for young patients.

It is important to know that issues of alignment and malposition of teeth are rarely caused by the teeth themselves but can have several causes:

  • Bad habits (pacifier, thumb sucking, etc.)
  • Cranial torsion
  • Ventilatory dysfunction or mouth breathing
  • Incorrect tongue position
  • Disturbance in the growth of the palate in width
  • Jaw growth disorders (forward or backward)
  • Cheiloschisis or harelip

Usage of braces in children, usually in conjunction with other speech therapy, osteopathic or orthoptic treatments, allow to avoid more extensive treatment for the future (tooth extraction, surgery, etc.).

We are talking about an intervention that is considered as preventive. An early treatment allows to correct the dysfunction at its origin and to prepare the bone base where the permanent teeth will grow.

Chewing in children

Chewing, hight importance during growth. The transition from liquid to solid food should be made as soon as possible, preferably as soon as the child is able to sit up unaided, it means that the muscles responsible for chewing are activated. In addition, the discovery of solid foods favors the cognitive development of the child through the discovery of new shapes and textures too.

Our experts recommend that, under adult supervision, children be allowed to bite and chew hard bread, apple pieces or raw carrots on a daily basis to avoid dental problems in the future. Soft or ground foods should be quickly replaced by a solid, varied and balanced diet.

Watch out : 

  • A gap between the upper and lower incisors
  • One jaw more advanced than the other
  • Overlapping teet
  • Very prominent incisors (“rabbit teeth”)
  • A very large space between the teeth
  • Difference between the central part of the upper teeth and the central part of the lower teeth
  • Constant mouth breathing
  • Snoring during sleep
  • Early or late loss of baby teeth
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Cheek biting
  • Use of dummy variable after 6 years old

If any of these behaviors appear, there is no need to be overly alarmed. The problem is not necessarily serious . Nowadays, many treatments are available today to permanently correct a bad positioning of the jaws or teeth.

Types of braces

According to 2 main factors, a type of treatment can be recommended : our child’s age and the origin of the orthodontic problem.

Mobile equipment

  • Delaire Face Mask: consists of an intraoral appliance anchored to the teeth and a removable mask that must be worn at least 10 to 12 hours a day. This system is used when the position of the upper jaw is too far back in relation to the lower jaw. The purpose is to pull the jaw forward. The results are visible fairly quickly, but specialists recommend keeping the appliance for at least a year.
  • One-piece unit: used in cases of major breakage, this device locks the child’s jaw.
  • Herbst appliance: composed of an upper and a lower part connected by metal supports, this appliance aims to push the jaw forward.
  • Expansion plate: composed of a resin plate molded on the palate, a central screw and hooks anchored to the molars, this appliance allows the expansion of the upper jaw if it is too narrow.
  • Quad Helix :to widen the upper arch. Composed of  two bands set up on the first two upper molars and a metal cable welded to the bands that passes over the palate.
  • Fixed retainer: metal plates glued behind the teeth.

Removable clear braces: invisalign first and teen

Invisalign orthodontics represents a completely different and innovative system. No visible metal plates or wires on the teeth, the treatment consists of transparent templates that fit over the teeth and gradually bring them into the ideal position with gentle but constant forces.

Invisalign First is designed to treat the baby teeth of children from to 6 to 12 years. It allows to widen the palate if necessary and to prepare the child’s mouth for the eruption of permanent teeth.

Invisalign Teen can be used from 11 years old and offers features specifically designed for children and teenagers . This treatment works 90% of the time, it means that almost all patients can use it.

Benefits of Invisalign First and Teen braces for children:

  • The braces are transparent and therefore do not cause any discomfort for the child.
  • They are removable and can be taken out 2 to 4 hours a day.
  • Oral hygiene is performed normally and more effective
  • One of the special features of this treatment for teenagers is to provide the necessary space for growing teeth.
  • The trays are equipped with a wear indicator that allows the parents and the dentist to know if the patient has worn the trays long enough.

The only downside would be if your child is not willing to keep them on for at least 20-22 hours a day. Gutters should be removed when eating or drinking anything other than water . To finish, it should be cleaned thoroughly before wearing them after any meal to prevent yellowing and cavities from forming due to bacteria build-up.

Invisalign First and Teen are just as effective as fixed braces, as long as the treatment is followed carefully and consistently. It is important that your child is able to follow the orthodontist’s instructions and understands the importance of wearing them long enough, otherwise the results will not be as expected.

How to clean children's braces?

Mobile equipment can be washed with dish soap and water at least once a week, soaked in a solution of water and a denture cleaning tablet. It allow to avoid bleach and alcohol-based mouthwashes that may damage the plastic.

For Invisalign First and Teen clear aligners, it is useful to clean them with a disinfectant and bleaching soap to prevent from yellowing.

In the case of fixed braces, the child or teenager should make sure to clean all areas of the mouth thoroughly, an electric toothbrush or water cleaner can help.

Do you want to have more information about braces? During the initial examination, we will be able to determine the best treatment for your children’s orthodontic care needs in Geneva. In addition, we can define the treatment plan, expected duration of treatment and approximate cost.

Stop by the office for a visit, or call us at 022 310 50 77 to arrange a consultation with our dentists for your child!

Children are very aware of what is going on with their teeth! They ask to themselves many questions about the dentist thanks to their imagination. I will take the necessary time in a playful way in order to reassure them !

— Dr Christophe Gachet
This article was written by :
Rdc Habefast Site Avatar Emma Abergel
Dr. Emma Abergel, orthodontic specialist at the Rhône Dental Clinic!
Rhone Dental Clinic Equipe Nathalie Melin
Dr. Nathalie Mélin, specialist in orthodontics at the Rhône Dental Clinic!
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