Types of dental appliances: when do children need orthodontics?

When the children are smaller, all their bones are half formed and therefore, it is often detected that the jaws are placed in a bad position, and therefore, their bite is incorrect. The removable devices manage to correct this defect. Many children only need a removable appliance because by correcting their jaws, the teeth are automatically placed in a correct position. However, there are other patients who need two phases, and some, only fixed devices (especially when children are older, close to adolescence).

Two phases in the treatment of orthodontics

In the treatment of orthodontics, two phases must be distinguished: the first phase (orthopedics) and the second phase (orthodontics proper). Orthopedics involves placing the bones of the mouth (maxilla) in place and orthodontics to ensure that the teeth are in their natural position, that is, aligned.

In the first phase, usually removable appliances are used (ie, remove and put) and for the phase of orthodontics proper, the so-called "brackets" which is the fixed apparatus, (metallic or aesthetic cemented permanently in the teeth).

At the end of the treatment, it is usual to place another type of apparatus called "retainers" (which can be removable or fixed) whose function is to hold and fix those teeth that have moved with the previous treatment.

Although the general conception is that the device is annoying, children usually tolerate it very well.

Children disciplined with orthodontics

For treatment to be successful, children must follow disciplinary rules and have to take responsibility for their "device." According to Dr. Natalia Solo de Zaldivar, "children have to be responsible for their devices, they are expensive and can break, they have to think that it is not a whim and that it is a benefit for their health".

Tips for orthodontics to be successful

Removable appliance:

1. It is normally used for the treatment of orthopedics, that is, correction of the bones of the mouth to achieve a good occlusion (bite).

2. As a general rule, a patient needs to carry the removable appliance for 24 to 36 months.

3. Careful hygiene of the mouth and teeth is necessary. Clean the device thoroughly to avoid fungus, sores or other types of infections.

4. Daily use of the device and the time required by the orthodontist. If, for example, a child is three days without putting it on, it may be that when it is placed again, it will no longer work (the mouth has been modified) and it has to be adjusted again. Keep in mind that the jaws of children are very malleable and are in permanent change.

5. Go to the consultation monthly, As minimum.

Brackets or fixed device:

1. It is used for orthodontic treatment properly speaking (teeth aligned) and as a rule, they are placed on permanent teeth.

2. Its function is to align and level teeth. The technique used to "stick" them (cemented) is absolutely painless.

3. They take an average of 24 months.

4. Hygiene must be extreme. For this reason, an adequate tooth brushing complemented by rinses is essential. Otherwise, decay, gingivitis (gum inflammation, fungus, etc.) may occur.

5. Nowadays, this type of equipment does not leave "marks" on the teeth once the treatment is finished.

Jaime Márquez
Advice: Dr. Natalia Solo from Zaldivar, medical dentist, orthodontic specialist.

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