Braces for Children & Teens
We recognize that every patient has different needs, and we pride ourselves in the courteous service we deliver to each person who walks through our doors at our offices in Bartlett, Lakeland, or Munford.
Drs. Josh, Jason, Emily and Mary are committed to helping your child reach the healthy and beautiful smile they deserve!
The best holders of space for our adult teeth are the baby (primary) teeth, so we do our best to preserve these teeth until they naturally fall out or need to be removed to alleviate crowding.
If a tooth (or teeth) must be removed due to an abscess or crowding, we will place an appliance (see below) to hold that space until the permanent tooth appears or until some type of orthodontic appliances (braces) are placed.
Space Maintainer Appliances
Since primary teeth hold the space for the permanent teeth, when a primary tooth is lost prematurely an appliance must be made to hold the necessary space open for the permanent tooth until it can erupt.
A little ring (or rings, depending on the type of appliance) fits on one (or more) of the back teeth and holds the appliance in place. A unilateral appliance holds space for one side of the mouth, while a bilateral appliance holds space for both sides of the mouth. These appliances can range from simple space maintainers, which hold the space for one tooth, to lingual arches and pediatric partials which can hold space for up to four teeth.
Pediatric partials differ from other space maintenance appliances, however, in that they are more cosmetic than purely practical. Pedo partials are helpful when a child has lost anterior teeth prematurely but the parent does not want the child to go several years with gaps in the front of his or her mouth.
Due to the specialized fabrication process required to make these appliances, we send all appliances to the lab for completion.
Crowding & Serial Extractions
Sometimes children have insufficient space for their adult teeth and need some baby teeth removed prematurely.
If this process begins very early (five or six years old), then the adult teeth entering the mouth may require a series of further primary teeth extractions, placement of space maintainers, and eventual extraction of four permanent teeth.
This treatment progression often terminates in using braces to align all the remaining teeth, thus resulting in a functional, aesthetic smile.
Due to excessive crowding of the baby (primary) or adult (permanent) dentition, we often recommend a simple appliance to expand (or broaden) a patient's upper or lower jaw.
This treatment is not to prevent braces in the future, but rather to enhance a better future for orthodontic treatment and to develop a proper chewing function between the upper jaw and the lower jaw.
Equally—if not more—important is maintaining or correction to proper function of the Temporo-mandibular-joint (the TMJ) so that pain and dysfunction (TMJ Disorders) do not develop. Simple correction can prevent a lifetime of joint pain.
Habit (Thumb Sucking) Appliances
Thumb-sucking is a fairly common occurrence among children, many of whom derive comfort from this habit. Consequently, it can be a difficult habit to break.
We offer several options to help at Brink & White Pediatric Dental Associates: an appliance that fits in the roof of the child's mouth, or a thumb guard to remind the child not to suck his or her thumb.