The decision to get your children braces is often one that is tinged with concerns that no longer hold true. Painful orthodontics are a thing of the past. Read what experienced orthodontists have to say about three of the most commonly presumed myths about children’s braces.
#1 BRACES GO ON EVERY CHILD AT AN EARLY AGE
People often ask us: “Do you put braces on every kid you see at an early age?” The answer is no. With children’s braces, we start by trying to create room for teeth to be made straight and to help the jaws develop into the proper size and shape. Often, we start with an expander. The expander serves a twofold purpose – it makes room in the mouth and it widens the jaws to the proper width. The braces come after this.
Occasionally, we do what is called a “partial treatment”. This is where we make use of just upper and lower front braces for a short period of time in order to help align teeth into their proper positions and to attain a proper fit between the upper and the lower jaws. Then, we wait for the rest of the adult teeth to come in.
Our approach ultimately depends on the patient. Sometimes, we do expansions at a young age and other times, we do expansions with partial braces.
- We focus on making room in the mouth to help the teeth grow straight and the jaws form properly
- We tailor our approach to meet the individualized needs of each patient.
#2 CHILDREN’S BRACES HURT
Interestingly, the fact is that braces are not painful in the least. The process of the placement of children’s braces is not painful either. However, patients might experience some minor discomfort resulting from the force that braces apply to the teeth. When we place wires onto those braces and they start to move the teeth, some patients experience minor tenderness, albeit the onset is not immediate. It tends to occur the following day and dissipates soon after.
In the past, patients who had braces put on would experience some discomfort for weeks on end. But today, a patient who initiates orthodontics usually experiences some uneasiness only on the second and third days after the braces are put on. Beyond that, there is no discomfort or soreness.
Persistent pain in orthodontics is uncommon. It is important to monitor this in treatment because if pain persists past the first few days, it may be a sign of something the orthodontist needs to address, such as ineffective rubber band wear or wires that may not be doing what they were designed to do.
- Braces do not hurt. Pain associated with orthodontics is uncommon.
- Braces may cause some discomfort that should not last past 2-3 days.
#3 BRACES INTERFERE WITH PLAYING SPORTS AND MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS
Parents are sometimes concerned that their children’s braces will affect the ability to participate in sports or play musical instruments comfortably. But Dr. Andrew J. Dusel rarely comes across such instances. While he encourages athletes to wear a mouth guard to protect their mouths and against concussions, rarely does he hear of issues when they wear a well-fitting athletic mouth guard that is designed for orthodontics.
Dr. Steven J. Hietanen reassuringly says to parents “Patients play every contact sport imaginable, with any appliance that we construct in this office”. Additionally, we adapt the mouthpieces required by some sports to fit around orthodontic appliances. He is confident that participating in sports will not interfere with the timing of children’s braces and orthodontics; nor will it have an adverse effect on the decision to have orthodontics. We firmly believe that neither do orthodontics offer barriers to playing sports, nor does participation in sports prove to be a barrier to successful orthodontic treatment.
In the context of playing musical instruments, Dr. Hietanen tells us that brass instruments such as trumpets, trombones and the like, may cause minor irritation on the inside of the lips, making them a little sore. However, in his experience, patients acclimate to it after a short adjustment period and do not have lasting issues.
- It is safe for children to participate in sports and play musical instruments with any piece of orthodontic equipment after a short adjustment period.
- Orthodontic treatment is not a hindrance to playing sports or musical instruments.
We hope this post clarifies your concerns and simplifies the prospect of getting your children’s braces. We welcome you to call one of our four offices in WNY to start the process with our experienced team of orthodontists.