Braces – that is the one word most of us dreaded to hear coming from our family dentist. That was especially true during our teen years. After all, High School (not to mention Junior High), is a time when we want to look our very best while achieving popularity and acceptance from our peers. Most kids feel that those goals are insurmountable when your mouth is filled with all manner of wire and rubber bands. The majority of teens have always felt that Braces are more geeky than cool. Yet, perception does not have to be reality. You are the master of your own universe. Braces cannot change who you are as a person. You know just how to style and profile that very special “look” that your friends and classmates envy. So why are you so worried about braces?
Whether you are a dedicated follower of fashion or you march to your very own unique beat, make braces your accessory in creating a brand new smile. Do not allow your new set of braces to interrupt that good thing that you’ve got going for yourself. Make those braces “fit in” with your lifestyle. Believe it or not, it is easier than it sounds. You can do this.
You know what, Moms and Dads out there, a lot has changed in the field of Orthodontics since you were rocking out to Journey, Foreigner and even Nirvana. Back in the day, we just did not have access to the cool, high tech improvements in both the look and feel of braces that are available to kids and teens nowadays. Your orthodontist can even fit your child with “invisible” braces, that are worn behind the teeth, where no one can see them. Wouldn’t you have loved to be able to wear Braces like that when it was time for Senior Prom?
Every generation goes through its own kind of angst when it is time to sit in the orthodontist’s chair and get fitted for braces. “How will they make me look? “, “Will wearing braces hurt? “,”What will my friends think?” and “How long must I wear these things?”, are all questions that will race through your teen’s mind.
Certainly, the family dentist will be able to put your child’s mind at ease about some of these pertinent questions. But nobody knows your child and what makes him or her tick like you do. As a parent, you are going to have to address this tricky situation as best you can. If you wore braces in your youth, then you are ahead of the game. If you did not, then you’ve got some homework to do.
In this article, Dental.net will provide you with some information on braces that can help you when it comes time to have “the talk” with your son or daughter.
Like you, Braces have a history.
Earlier, we talked a little about generations of American teens going through their own personal trauma where braces are concerned. Braces in our society go a lot further back than a couple of generations. The term “braces”, first became part of our vocabulary back in the early 1900’s. Turn of the century braces were quite different from what we know today. Dentists wrapped individual bands of different material (gold, silver, copper or zinc) around each tooth that needed to be straightened. The bands were connected by a wire. It is in fact, the wire in a set of braces, that is used to apply pressure to a patient’s crooked teeth, in the hope of moving them into a proper alignment.
The earliest set of braces can be credited to a French dentist named, Christopher Francois Delabarre. Monsieur Delabarre created the first wire crib, a half circle device that was placed directly onto the teeth in order to make them straighter. Some dentists and historians feel that Delabarre’s work marked the birth of modern Orthodontics.
In 1901, a dentist with a flair for invention, Edward Angle, founded the first college of orthodontics as well as the American Society of Orthodontia. Dr. Angle also devised the first classification system that dentists still use to describe how crooked teeth are, which way they are pointing and how they fit together. This system is called Malocclusion. In Latin, it means having a bad bite. Malocclusion encompasses many different issues with one’s mouth, not only the degree of crookedness in your teeth. Many people who have to get braces find that their jaws are not the same size. When your upper jaw is a bit bigger than your lower jaw, that is called an overbite. An underbite occurs if the lower jaw is larger than its upper counterpart. Thank goodness, when speaking to your kids, there is no need to have to try and pronounce this tongue twister of a word.
How do Braces work and how long will my child have to wear them?
Braces align problem teeth by exerting pressure on them. Over time, the wire and rubber bands on the braces will move your teeth into a straighter position. Braces exert a very gentle “force” on your teeth in a very carefully controlled direction. Your child’s orthodontist will probably have to make minor adjustments during the term of treatment. Alignment, by the way, means ” how teeth line up in the mouth”. The four basic elements of braces include bonding material, brackets, wire and ligature elastic, which would be springs or rubber bands.
There is no set time or miracle formula that orthodontists follow in terms of determining how long a patient has to wear braces. Every patient and every mouth is different. On average, the minimum amount of time would be one year, but most people have to wear their braces for around twenty-four months in order to see tangible results. Your orthodontist will perform regular screenings to see what progress is being made.
What exactly does an Orthodontist do?
Orthodontists have the exact same schooling as does your family dentist. However, they have put in three additional years of training, working with different forms of braces and studying various techniques and procedures in terms of proper tooth and bite alignment. That word keeps popping up in this article, but alignment is what the science pf orthodontics is all about. An orthodontist practices a specialized form of dentistry that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of oral and facial abnormalities.
How will my child’s life change, once he or she gets Braces?
Only for the better! Team up with your teen to help her achieve that bright Hollywood smile she has been wanting. Put a positive spin on what braces can do for your son or daughter. It is never a good idea to dwell on how misshapen or crooked the child’s teeth may be. Instead, emphasize how good she will look once her new smile is finished. A great many celebrities and actors wore braces when they were young, as did many athletes.
Speaking of sports, your child will want to know if wearing braces will put a stop to their participation in after-school activities. Not at all! Orthodontic treatment will not interfere with soccer, football or baseball. Your orthodontist will help you to find the right mouth guard for your son or daughter. Protection of their braces is paramount and a well-made mouth guard should do the job!
When it comes to diet, some adjustments will have to be made. Crunchy foods such as chunky peanut butter, potato chips and popcorn are out. Foods like, corn on the cob, any type of nuts, apples, carrots and meats with a lot of bone and gristle on them, such as thick cut steaks and BBQ ribs are also not recommended. If you are into bagels for breakfast, make sure they are soft and do not toast them. Hard cheeses, especially blocks of cheddar are also on the do not go there list.
The good news is that the kids can eat all the ice-cream and cake that they want. (But, on second thought, better not!) Cavities are always lurking in the background. But there will still be plenty of variety in your child’s diet, despite braces. At dinnertime, make sure that you serve grains like pasta and rice, seafood, (you can skip the crab and lobster with their hard shells), hamburger meat, chicken breast and veggies like spinach, collard greens, kale and escarole. Mashed potatoes are always a safe bet too.
The new Braces. Now you see them but tomorrow you won’t!
Metal braces will always be in Vogue. They are still the standard for orthodontists, when it comes to braces. Metal braces are time-tested and reliable. The results are predictable. But several other types of braces are trending right now in the field of orthodontics. And your teen will be particularly interested in two of these contemporary options.
Ceramic braces are made out of clear materials and are much less visible on your teeth than are metal braces.
Making tremendous strides among young people, as well as adults and celebrities are Lingual Braces. These braces are meant to be worn behind your teeth and are invisible to the casual observer.
A follow-up article on the different types of braces that are now available to orthodontic patients will appear soon on Dental.net. This piece will go into further detail on the groundbreaking changes that have revolutionized Braces as we know them.
So there you have it; life with braces can and will be a lot less stressful than your child or teen expects it to be. Who knows, maybe soon, your daughter will be posting photos of herself wearing that trendy, barely there set of braces she just got at the Orthodontists’ office.