Orthodontics for Children & Teenagers in Birmingham MI

When Should My Child Get Braces?

orthodontics bracesDr. Sushko feels that the best time to use braces to straighten a child’s teeth is during a major growth spurt, as occurs during puberty, At that time the bones are fairly pliable and it is easier to align the teeth rapidly.

Braces are most often appropriate at 11 ½ years for girls or 12 ½ years for boys when the baby teeth are gone and the permanent teeth are in the mouth.

It is wise for parents to bring children for an initial free consultation at age 6 or 7, or younger if there are specific concerns. This enables Dr. Sushko to correctly diagnose and handle any problems, and ensures that the teeth-straightening procedures work smoothly. He will also evaluate at that time for any jaw-size discrepancy that may require early treatment.

What Are Braces?

Braces are made up of brackets, bands, wires and spacers. These components are used as needed to correct the particular problem being addressed, by exerting continuous pressure on the teeth and slowly moving them into place.

  • Brackets are the small squares that are bonded directly to the front of each tooth with a special dental cement. Brackets act like handles, holding the wires that move the teeth. The brackets can be made of stainless steel or tooth-colored material. Tooth-colored brackets are more cosmetically appealing but more expensive than stainless steel, and are also more difficult to remove.
  • Orthodontic bands are stainless steel and are cemented to teeth. They wrap around each tooth to provide an anchor for the brackets. Some people have only brackets and no bands.
  • Spacers are separators that fit between teeth to create a small space prior to placement of orthodontic bands.
  • Arch wires attach to the brackets and act as tracks to guide the movement of the teeth. Arch wires are made of nickel titanium.
  • Tiny plastic rings, called ligatures or elastics hold the arch wires to the brackets.

How Do Braces Work?

Braces work by applying continuous pressure over a period of time to slowly move teeth in a specific direction. As the teeth move, the bone structure changes as pressure is applied. The teeth are moved specifically, according to careful adjustments by the doctor in order to align the jaw, improve the bite, reduce crowding, correct spacing, and straighten teeth

Over time, braces will improve your smile and correct other problems that crowded or misaligned teeth can create, including increased chance of tooth decay and tooth loss, chewing difficulties, and speech impediments.

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How Long Are Braces Needed?

The amount of time that braces are needed varies from person to person. Factors affecting the length of time include the severity of the problem, the amount of room available in the mouth, the distance the teeth must travel, the health of the teeth, gums, and supporting bone and how closely the doctor’s instructions are followed.

On average, braces are usually needed for 15-30 months. After the braces are removed, patients will need to wear a retainer custom-designed for their needs.