Children suffering from jaw problems or crooked teeth must consult an orthodontist. Your dentist may also refer the child to an orthodontist, if he/she feels that the teeth problems are caused due to deformities in the upper or lower jaw.
An orthodontist is a doctor, who specializes in the treatment of teeth and jaw disorders. Some of the appliances used by them are bands, wires, jaw expanders, headgear, retainers etc. Most parents are confused when they hear the names of these appliances. Let us know in detail about a few of them.
Braces are the most common orthodontic appliances used to correct misaligned teeth in children. Braces apply gentle pressure on the teeth and jaws and move them into the right position. While choosing braces, there are many options in the choice of material. Braces are available in materials like Stainless steel, Plastic, Ceramic or Combination materials. Choosing ceramic or plastic braces help to get a tooth colored appearance.
- Temporary Anchorage Devices (TADs)
TADs are mini-screws that are fixed to the bones in the mouth. These devices apply gentle pressure from the point they are fixed and move teeth to the desired placement. These screws are generally six to twelve mm in length and 1.2 to 2 mm in diameter. Since they apply pressure from a fixed point, they provide greater control in tooth alignment and positioning.
- Rubber Bands
Rubber bands are also called as elastics. These devices help to apply more pressure on the jaws and teeth and move them into the desired position. Rubber bands are available in a range of colours.
- Palate expanders
These appliances are known by many names such as jaw expanders, palate expanders or maxillary expanders. They help in the extension of the upper jaw to the desired position. These appliances are used in upper jaw extension treatment to treat disorders such as teeth crowding, cross bite and breathing difficulties due to misaligned jaws
Retainers are appliances that are used after the braces are removed. They help to keep the newly aligned teeth in place. Retainers can be removable or fixed at the back of the teeth. They are made from a variety of materials such as metal, plastic or rubber.
These are some of the appliances used by orthodontists to treat jaw and teeth disorders in children. A dentist or orthodontist can choose any one or a combination of these appliances depending on the problem to be treated. For example, to correct disorders of teeth crowding, a dentist can use jaw expanders first and once the jaw is extended to the desired position, he can use braces to align the teeth properly.