Key questions and answers at a glance
Why does my child need braces?
Our teeth have a substantial impact on our health. They also significantly shape our language, our appearance and self-esteem. The position of teeth in the jaw and the alignment of the upper to the lower jaw are vital for proper chewing function. If teeth are misaligned, orthodontic treatment can improve the health and function of your child's teeth permanently. Furthermore, braces can also prevent the consequences of improper strain on jaw joints over many years, these consequences include tension headaches, neck tension and also ear noises (tinnitus).
How can misaligned teeth develop?
Hardly anyone has perfect teeth. Crooked teeth or jaw misalignments can be congenital or often due to behaviour in childhood. For example, excessive sucking on baby bottles or thumbs can give rise to misaligned teeth. But so can bad brushing: If your milk teeth, which keep space clear for permanent teeth, fall out too early due to poor hygiene, your molars will grow wrongly in your jaw and steal space from their future neighbours.
At what age does orthodontic therapy make sense?
Teeth already begin to change their positions in early infancy. Orthodontic treatment usually begins during the growth phase of teeth and jaws, i.e. between the ages of 6 and 15. Basically, although teeth can be moved throughout your life, the earlier a misalignment is recognized, the better it can be treated. Subject to the characteristics of the misalignment, your child would have to undergo complex orthodontic treatment if treatment begins later.
Is orthodontic treatment painful for my child?
Don't worry: Although inserting the braces and archwires is rather protracted (around 60-180 minutes), it doesn't usually hurt. In the first days after insertion, your child may have a feeling of pressure or slight pain (particularly when chewing). This is due to your child's oral cavity and jaws first having to adapt to the new foreign bodies. If the pain does not ease and fade after some time, you should take your child back to the orthodontist again. The braces may need to be loosened a little.
By the way: 3M Unitek's brace systems have a flat design which is especially comfortable to wear. This helps your child to acclimate fast and ensures a pleasant feel.
Do I have to change my child's eating habits?
A little. It is best to avoid all food which could damage your child's teeth and braces such as hard, sticky food or food containing a lot of sugar.
Can my child also play sports with braces?
Don’t worry: your child does not have to forgo sports and action, even with braces. To protect braces from damage, in some cases a mouthguard needs to be worn. Just ask your orthodontist.
Is dental hygiene complicated with braces?
Not particularly complicated, but particularly important! Even if it may be hard for your child to get used to at the beginning, they should clean their teeth and braces after each meal. You can get tips for optimum dental hygiene with fixed braces on this web page or directly from your orthodontist.
How long does orthodontic treatment take?
The duration of treatment with fixed braces differs for each individual case and depends on what exactly needs correcting. A treatment usually lasts between 1.5 and 3 years. But now there are more and more innovative brace systems available which can shorten treatment duration by a few months. What you should know as parents: When braces are removed, treatment is not yet over. To secure the achieved result and prevent your child's straightened teeth from remigrating to their old position, it is important for them to wear retention braces. First, they wear them each day, then later the intervals of time become longer and longer.
How can I support my child during treatment?
For some kids, it is tedious to wear braces for an extended period: After all, treatment success largely depends on your child's willingness to pay attention to correct nutrition and dental care. Educated appeals to your child do not always obtain the desired result. Instead, get your child actively involved in their treatment, and also allow them to talk to the orthodontist on their own to further their autonomy.
What are the chances of success with brace therapy?
Success of orthodontic treatment especially depends on your child's active involvement. Therefore, be sure to keep to the regular follow-up appointments and maintain optimum dental hygiene. This means that nothing stands between your child and their healthy teeth!
Is any residue visible on my child's teeth when the braces are removed?
Don’t worry: Although there are still traces of glue left on teeth after removing brackets, they are completely eliminated with various polishers by the orthodontist. So, if your child has taken care to ensure proper dental hygiene, no trace of orthodontic therapy will remain on their teeth.
My child doesn't want visible braces. What other options do we have?
Even if braces are now deemed to be "absolutely normal," some kids are too ashamed to wear them. In some cases, tooth and jaw misalignments can be treated by using so-called lingual braces. They are fastened on the inside of the tooth and cannot be seen from the outside. Many contemporary brace wires are manufactured from a special material allowing them to exert a continuous slight pressure on teeth which can lead to faster and more comfortable movement of the teeth for your child. Another option: a series of nearly invisible, removable aligners are used instead of traditional braces. But this therapy method is not advised with all misalignments.
My child plays a musical instrument. Can braces be a hindrance?
Playing wind or brass instruments such as the trumpet, requires some flexibility and delicacy at the beginning. With a little practice and patience, playing musical instruments is no problem with braces either.
My child has a tongue piercing. Can that affect the orthodontic treatment?
In this case, your child should be especially careful. Tongue-piercing jewellery can cause braces and teeth to break – or the rubber bands can be damaged due to contact with the piercing.
Your orthodontist will be pleased to discuss these and many other questions with you in detail.