Getting braces is a big decision for children, their parents, and anyone considering the treatment. It can take time to weigh up the pros and cons and take the leap. If a parent had braces, they may be reluctant to put their child through the process, or if an adult is past their younger years, one might not be too excited about the idea.
Braces Before and After Photos
Before and after photos never fail to impress, no matter what the topic.
These photos present a mix of straighter teeth, an improvement in overbite, underbite, crossbite, and changes to one’s face shape. These impressive smiles will last a lifetime along with improved confidence and self-esteem. The improvements that braces can bring to a patient’s life are often beyond cosmetic.
Pre-Braces Journey for Children Getting Braces
Some children have a different journey with braces compared to adult patients. Children can use their growing jaws to their advantage. Pre-braces treatment may include a palate expander to widen their jaw. This is an option before the palate fuses, usually around puberty. By expanding the palate, a patient can avoid having teeth extracted, as a wider jaw gives the room needed to fit all the adult teeth.
Braces for Adults
Most adults are able to choose among the different types of braces that are available. Aesthetic options include ceramic and lingual braces. Ceramic brackets make the braces less noticeable than metal brackets. Lingual braces are worn on the inside of teeth so they aren’t seen when smiling and talking. Both lingual and ceramic are more expensive than the traditional braces. Adults are more likely to justify spending a little more on their braces compared to teens. Some adults may feel self-conscious to wear braces at work or in social settings despite their increased popularity in the older age groups in recent years.
Adults may also be inclined to take up the option of Invisalign: the clear plastic retainers that are virtually invisible. These are only removed for eating, drinking, and brushing teeth but need to be worn for a minimum of 22 hours per day to be most effective.
Important to note that in some complex cases, patients may be advised to choose the less aesthetic options.
Braces for Children
Children often don’t have as much of a choice as adults. Their parents often make the choice of type of braces and may not be worth the extra cost because of how common traditional braces are among the child’s peers.
Lingual braces can take longer to get used to because the tongue is displaced from its usual position during speech, due to the brackets and wire sitting on the inside of teeth. This causes patients to adopt a lisp until they get enough practice talking with their braces, and for some kids this can increase their self-consciousness. Lingual braces also require more frequent visits to the orthodontist.
Invisalign isn't highly recommended for children. It takes discipline for many months or years to wear Invisalign for a minimum of 22 hours per day, and few kids are able to keep it up. It’s easy to lose Invisalign retainers while eating if they aren’t kept in their case, and one may forget to put them back in after brushing or rinsing their teeth after every snack or meal.
Many parents feel braces are an easier option because their child won’t need a constant reminder to put their retainer back on. As long as children are brushing and flossing their braces, there’s little daily effort required compared to a removable option.
Final Stage of Braces
Many patients assume that treatment ends when their braces are removed but the final stage is retention for both children and adults. To preserve the new position of teeth for life, teeth need to be held in place by retainers. These can either be removable or fixed. In the beginning, removable retainers are worn full-time. The retainers are only taken out while eating and brushing the teeth. Once the orthodontist advises to move on, the patient can use them part time (most commonly while at sleep).
A fixed retainer consists of a thin wire behind the teeth that stays in permanently, even while eating and brushing. A fixed retainer can only be removed by an orthodontist or dentist, and the benefit of a fixed retainer is that it can’t be lost or forgotten to be worn at night.
Starting the Braces Journey
Like many things in life, getting started is the most difficult stage. If you think you or your child needs orthodontic treatment, speak to your dentist to get a referral. Make an appointment and discuss your options, the costs involved, and likely time frame. Your orthodontist will inform you of what can be achieved both cosmetically and functionally. Ask as many questions as you need to ensure you’re making an informed decision.
Whether you're hesitant or ready to embark on your braces journey, get in touch with our specialists with a call to your nearest clinic, or contact us online to talk through your options or book an appointment online.