A child’s smile is a priceless treasure, and ensuring its proper development is a priority for parents. One significant step in achieving this is considering Kids Braces, which is also called Phase 1 braces, a modern orthodontic treatment tailored for young children. In this article, we will explore the advantages of Child Phase 1 braces and why now is the ideal time to consider them.
Kids braces, also known as interceptive orthodontics, are a specialized form of orthodontic treatment designed for children between the ages of 7 and 11. Unlike traditional braces, which are typically fitted in the teenage years, Phase 1 braces address dental issues as soon as they become apparent. These early interventions can help guide the development of a child’s teeth and jaw, preventing more severe problems later on.
Why now? Why not later?
- Prevent complication: Many orthodontic issues are easier to treat when detected early. By starting Phase 1 braces during childhood, parents and orthodontists can identify and address problems before they become more complex and challenging to correct. This can potentially reduce the need for surgical intervention that has certain risk involved.
- Improved Technology: Modern orthodontic technology has made Phase 1 braces more effective and comfortable than ever before. These braces are now designed to be minimally invasive, making them suitable for young children.
- Reducing Future Costs: Addressing orthodontic problems during childhood can potentially save parents money in the long run. Preventing the need for extensive orthodontic work in the teenage years can lead to significant cost savings.
- Enhanced Quality of Life: Correcting dental issues early can have a positive impact on a child’s quality of life. They can eat, speak, and smile with ease, which contributes to their overall well-being and happiness.
What are the types of Kids braces?
1. Conventional braces (2×4 braces)
2. Carrier motion appliance
3. Myobrace appliance
4. Clear aligner
Conventional braces (2x4 braces)
The 2×4 braces treatment is a widely used approach in Phase 1 orthodontics. This method is designed to target the visible part of a child’s smile, improving not only the cosmetic appearance but also the functionality of the teeth. The treatment involves using braces on the 2 molars at the back of the mouth and the front 4 teeth of both the upper and lower arch. A spring is placed between the front teeth and molars to expand the arch and gain space for permanent teeth to erupt.
This technique is highly cost-effective and efficient. As the brackets are bonded to individual teeth, the treatment is sure to succeed with visible results often appearing within 6 months to 1 year. The major advantage of this approach is that it does not require any compliance from the child which saves time and headache to the parents.
While the 2×4 braces treatment is known for its effectiveness, there are potential downsides to consider. The treatment can be quite painful, which can be a daunting prospect for children. Additionally, during the initial stages of the treatment, discomfort and ulceration are possible. Adapting to the braces can also be challenging, as a restrictive diet needs to be maintained, and oral hygiene care must be taken seriously. There may be emergency appointments required should any brackets or wires become dislodged due to not following the recommended diet. Patients are required to attend monthly check-ups, which may cause some discomfort when wires are replaced.
Overall, despite the potential discomfort, the 2×4 braces approach is an excellent option for children seeking an affordable and efficient orthodontic treatment. Brackets will be removed once sufficient space is gained and Phase 2 treatment will be done at age of 13-14 years old when the permanent teeth are fully erupted.
Carrier motion appliance
Carrier motion appliance is a fixed appliance used to reduce the duration of any orthodontic treatment. It involves the use of a pair of metal bars that are glued to the canine and molar of either the upper or lower arch and elastic bands which are worn by the patient from the molar bracket on the opposite arch. A clear retainer is worn on the opposite arch to prevent over-eruption of the molars due to the constant upward pulling force of the elastic band.
By carefully guiding the back teeth into proper occlusion, the method creates space on the front teeth for correction as shown in the picture above. This treatment usually takes around 4 to 6 months. With the back teeth in correct alignment, the braces treatment becomes easier with potentially shortened treatment duration by 1-2 years.
While the carrier motion appliance does not address front teeth crowding, this can be remedied at a later stage in treatment, when permanent teeth are fully erupted, with either clear aligners or fixed braces of patient’s choice.
Myobrace & Myofunctional therapy
Myobrace is an orthodontic treatment system that focuses on addressing the root causes of orthodontic issues rather than merely providing cosmetic solutions. Developed by Dr. Chris Farrell, an Australian dentist, Myobrace aims to guide the growth and development of the jaws and facial muscles to achieve proper alignment of teeth and jaws naturally. This approach sets it apart from conventional orthodontic treatments that often involve the use of braces and other fixed appliances.
It is a non invasive treatment which requires the child to wear the appliance for 1-2 hours during the day and throughout the night during sleep. The appliance together with various tongue and lip exercises will help to expand the arch and create space to allow for permanent teeth to grow. Through myofunctional therapy, not only can the child have straighter teeth, but it also eliminates poor habits such as mouth breathing, tongue thrusting that is part of the underlying cause of their malaligned teeth and have major impact on their general health.
Myofunctional therapy requires great effort and patience from both the parents and the child. As the effects of this therapy is gradual it is necessary to remain fully compliant and cooperative throughout the entire treatment process. Treatment duration ranges from 1-2 years with monthly review visits. Additionally, as the treatment progresses, the appliance may need to be adjusted or changed to accommodate the increasing size of the child’s jaw or to move on to the next stage of the treatment. By committing to the full duration of the treatment process and working together with your healthcare provider, your child can experience the benefits of myofunctional therapy for years to come.
More info on Myobrace/ Myofunctional therapy
Clear aligner mandibular advancement (CAMA), is an orthodontic treatment modality designed to tackle two primary concerns simultaneously: teeth misalignment and lower jaw positioning issues. It is especially valuable for individuals with overbites or Class II malocclusions, where the upper jaw significantly protrudes over the lower jaw. CAMA utilizes a series of custom-made clear aligners, similar to traditional clear aligner therapy, but with the added functionality of lower jaw advancement.
Like traditional clear aligners, CAMA begins with a detailed assessment of the patient’s dental and jaw structure. Dentist will use this information to create a customized treatment plan. A series of clear aligners is then fabricated to fit the patient’s teeth and jaw precisely. These aligners are typically worn for about 22 hours a day, and they are changed every 2 weeks to advance the treatment. What sets CAMA apart is its focus on lower jaw correction. The aligners are designed to incrementally reposition the lower jaw forward, helping to correct overbites and Class II malocclusions. Over the course of treatment, the patient’s lower jaw gradually moves into its optimal position, while teeth alignment is also addressed concurrently. The process is controlled and precise, ensuring a gradual and comfortable adjustment.
The use of clear aligners has become increasingly popular among teenagers who may be self-conscious about their orthodontic treatment. These aligners are designed to be discreet and virtually invisible, making them a great option for those who are concerned about appearance. However, it’s important to note that clear aligners can be quite expensive and require strict compliance in order to work effectively. This can sometimes make it a challenge for young kids to stay disciplined enough to cope with the 22-hour schedule required for optimal results. Despite these challenges, clear aligners remain a great choice for those who want to improve their smile and boost their confidence without the need for traditional braces.