Orthodontics for children
There are a number of methods orthodontists can use in children to straighten their teeth. Simple problems can often be fixed with a removable appliance (“plate”), and more complex problems with braces, functional orthodontic appliances (for growth modification), and perhaps jaw surgery for the most complex problems. The main aims are usually to make teeth straighter, but also to correct the bite.
Apart from crowding of the teeth (which is the most usual problem), braces can correct impacted teeth, and make space for missing teeth to erupt or be replaced, as well as improve the bite.
Braces are the most effective way to move teeth in children and teenagers, and a good result can usually be obtained in 18 to 20 months.
For some children and teenagers, it may be possible to modify jaw growth in a favourable way, such as creating spacing. This can usually be done with the use of functional appliances, which may be removable or cemented in (fixed). Many of these appliances incorporate an expansion device to make the jaw wider.
Not all growth issues can be corrected with functional appliances, but sometimes their use can reduce the need for braces or even jaw surgery.
These appliances only work in growing children.