Creating an Efficient Orthodontic Treatment Plan for Your Child
The world of orthodontics has really changed and you might be surprised to learn how advanced pediatric orthodontics is now compared to your own experiences with braces as a child. Orthodontic treatment is more efficient than ever and the teeth straightening process quicker in many ways.
As someone who isn’t an orthodontist, you can’t know for certain what orthodontic treatment option is best for your child, of course. But you can do some research so you’re prepared for whatever your child’s orthodontist recommends.
If you’re curious how quickly our orthodontic team can straighten your child’s teeth, here is some important information to consider.
Is there any way to speed up the straightening process?
One of the most common questions we get from parents and kids alike is, “How long will it take?” Orthodontic treatment isn’t something that can necessarily be rushed, but there are a few things you and your child can do to ensure their treatment timeline is as short as possible.
Make sure your child is caring for their teeth properly.
First and foremost, the healthier your child’s teeth and gums are, the easier it is for their teeth to straighten and realign. Food particles can get stuck around the wires and brackets of metal braces and without thorough brushing and flossing it’ll cause tooth decay. We recommend supplying your child with an electric toothbrush to ensure they get a proper cleaning done. Don’t skip on standard oral hygiene visits and professional cleanings either.
Don’t skip adjustment appointments.
Our orthodontist might recommend scheduling your child’s adjustment visits monthly or every four to six weeks if your child has Invisalign. It’s important that these appointments aren’t skipped as the increased time between adjustments or replacement of aligners only slows down the teeth straightening process.
Remind your child to stay away from restricted foods.
Our orthodontic team will go over a list of foods your child will need to stay away from if they have traditional braces. Remind your child to stick with this list and avoid gum, sugar, very hard or crunchy foods, sticky foods, and anything else on the list. Not following through on these restrictions can damage your child’s braces.
Remind your child to wear their elastic bands.
If your child has braces and our orthodontist gave them elastic bands, remind them to not play with the bands and to wear them at all times unless they’re eating. Not wearing the elastic bands won’t stop the teeth straightening process, but it will certainly slow things down and complicate matters.
Invest in a mouthguard if your child plays sports.
Damage to braces in the form of bent or broken wires can easily happen during contact sports. Not only does this affect the teeth straightening process, but it can also cause injury. Ask our orthodontists about a mouthguard if your child plays sports.
Ask about accelerated treatment options for kids.
If you’re very concerned about the length treatment might take, ask our team about options for accelerated treatment. This isn’t always possible for kids receiving orthodontic treatment, but as we say, it never hurts to ask and we love when our patients ask us questions.
How long will braces take and is Invisalign faster?
You may have heard that Invisalign straightens teeth faster than traditional braces. For the most part, this is true.
Invisalign is Faster…
Traditional braces can take anywhere from one to three years to straighten teeth while Invisalign treatment often ranges between 12 and 18 months. There are a couple of reasons why Invisalign tends to yield faster results.
Invisalign aligners completely cover all surfaces of the teeth whereas traditional braces are usually placed on the front surface of the teeth. Invisalign aligners are also replaced every two weeks versus the standard four-week schedule for readjusting/tightening traditional braces.
But They Aren’t for Every Child.
Invisalign is capable of correcting some pretty serious issues, but it isn’t the right choice if your child’s teeth are:
- Very short, round, or otherwise not ideally shaped to make contact with the aligners.
- Severely rotated or tilted inwards or outwards.
- Intruded or extruded too far in the gumline (i.e. needing vertical realignment).
- Shifted from the midline and need to be realigned.
- Largely gapped (greater than 6mm distance between teeth).
Many orthodontists will only recommend traditional braces for children with these issues as it’s the only option to get the right results from treatment.
It’s also important to note that children who have had previous dental work, such as a bridge, may not be candidates for Invisalign. Children who will also require dental treatment during the course of their orthodontic treatment may also not be eligible for Invisalign.
Our orthodontic team will recommend traditional braces over Invisalign if braces will get the right results faster. Even though Invisalign is faster overall, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s faster for every orthodontic problem on an individual basis.
The only way to know if Invisalign or traditional braces are the right choice is through an evaluation with our orthodontist. By performing an examination and reviewing in-depth digital x-rays and scans, our team can determine which route is the best one for your child.
Come in for a visit to discover your child’s options.
As a parent researching orthodontic treatment options for your child, it’s important to keep an open mind and look at all possibilities. Orthodontic treatment plans are highly customized and while something like braces may seem common, a lot of forethought and work goes into the treatment process.
Our team will keep your child’s best interests in mind when deciding between Invisalign or traditional braces, as well as the length of time treatment will take. We highly encourage parents and their children to ask our orthodontist as many questions as they’d like about the proposed treatment plan before starting to ensure everyone is on the same page about what to expect.
When you’re ready to make your child’s next appointment, you can either give us a call to schedule a visit or use our online Request an Appointment form.