What is pediatric orthodontics?
Pediatric orthodontics is the correction of poorly positioned teeth and bones in the mouth using fixed appliances (brackets), removable appliances or retainers.
- Fixed appliances: the most common are known as brackets, which are placed on each tooth to adapt the position of each piece and correct problems of dental crowding and occlusion or bite. There are both metal and porcelain brackets, the latter being more esthetic as it blends in better with the color of the tooth.
- Removable appliances: the most commonly known as “removable appliances” are made of acrylic material that fit into the molar teeth by means of metal structures. These appliances correct bite and palate defects, and their results depend on the patient’s discipline in wearing them. There is a minimum number of hours to wear the device for it to be effective.
Why is it done?
During infancy, orthodontics is more effective because the bone structures are still developing. Thus, it is easier to detect and correct any jaw bone problems early. After childhood, the bone structures of the face can only be modified with orthognathic surgery, for which combined surgical orthodontic treatment can be performed. This treatment is only used in adults in whom the total growth of the jaw has already been completed.
Orthodontics is most effective during the development of bone structures.
What is orthodontics?
Dental specialists recommend the first check-up at 6 years of age and assess the growth of the maxillary bones and milk teeth. Between the ages of 8 and 10 years is when the child will be losing baby teeth and replacing them with permanent teeth. Thus, during this period the dental specialist will assess whether the child requires orthodontic treatment.
Then, molds of the jaws will be taken to make the dental appliance to measure and place it. Throughout the duration of the orthodontic treatment, the patient will have follow-up consultations with their dentist to assess their progress, tighten the appliances or make any necessary modifications to the structure.
Preparation for pediatric orthodontics
Generally, the patient does not have to prepare for orthodontic treatment, since it does not require surgery or special preparation of the area, beyond the usual dental hygiene. In some cases, the specialist may find it necessary to pre-treat other dental pathologies such as caries or gingivitis.
Care after the procedure
Once the orthodontic process is completed, the dentist or orthodontist will proceed to remove the dental appliance, and may replace, for example, a fixed orthodontic appliance with a removable one in the final stage of dental correction.
In some cases, the patient may require a fixed retainer to be implanted, which is placed behind the teeth and allows them not to move again once the braces are removed.
Alternatives to this treatment
There are dental problems in children that will not require orthodontics, but if they do, the dentist can assess the type of orthodontics needed and the duration of treatment.