That gap in your child’s front teeth may be cute when he is little, but when children become teens, things change. Until now, they haven’t cared much about oral health and getting them even to brush was like, well, like pulling teeth. Now your children want the perfect smile with white straight teeth and you want the best orthodontic procedure for the buck. Besides the cosmetic value, teeth that don’t fit together well can affect the physical health of your child. There are options out there, but which costs less?
There is more to the question of which orthodontic appliance you get than which costs less. Traditional braces use brackets attached to the teeth with adhesive, that have a wire running through them. Rubber bands align the top and bottom braces. The system exerts gentle pressure on the teeth and slowly moves them into place. Patients come into the office every few weeks to have the braces tightened because the wires loosen as the teeth move. Although today’s braces come in many colors, even neon, they aren’t exactly attractive. Some traditional types of braces are clear, but the adhesive used with them can stain. While having a mouthful of metal makes eating some foods difficult and kids have to learn to talk “around them,” they are the best way to treat some tooth problems. Severely rotated teeth, for instance, or that big gap between the front teeth, respond better to traditional braces than to other kinds. After one-to-two years of treatment, patients with this system wear retainers for a time. These are a form of light brace that ensures the teeth are set in the new position and will remain there.
This system works differently to straighten teeth. Instead of the system of wires and brackets, it uses clear plastic trays placed over the teeth. The teeth are mapped by computer and the trays are made to conform to the measurements. Every two weeks, or so, patients come in to get new trays. The trays exert pressure on the teeth, just as the traditional braces do, but there is less pressure and there is no metal to cause sores or discomfort. Doctors receive training in using the system. One advantage to using Invisalign is that the trays are nearly invisible. They are also more comfortable than the wire braces and can be removed. That advantage, however, puts the responsibility of wearing the device on the patient. The result of any brace system depends upon consistent pressure. The removable trays also allow people to eat foods like pizza and nuts that would be difficult to manage with traditional braces. This system is not for all patients, however. According to specialists, orthodontic procedures that require teeth to be pulled or those that involve rotated teeth or large gaps are better treated with traditional braces. The tray system costs approximately the same as traditional braces or, in some cases, a bit more.
Dentist or Orthodontist?
While dentists can do orthodontics, and may charge less for them, it may prove more costly in the long run not to go to an orthodontic specialist. After college, these doctors have an additional four-to-seven years of school and specialty education. Dentists who apply orthodontic devices may have to consult with orthodontists on your child’s teeth, or even turn the entire procedure over if there is a complication. Choosing a dentist over an orthodontist is a little like taking your child to a shopping mall food court to get authentic Mexican cuisine. You don’t expect the best ethnic food from a fast food restaurant and you cannot expect the best orthodontic care from a dentist who handles many oral health problems.
If your child is ready for orthodontic procedures, look for a licensed, board certified orthodontic specialist. In the Kansas City area you can call Dr. Ashlee Weber. She can help you decide which procedure, traditional, tray system or other device, would work best in your child’s mouth. You can be sure of getting an expert diagnosis and trustworthy advice. Since orthodontics aren’t cheap, no matter which type you choose, it makes sense to get the best value. That cute gap won’t close as your child ages, and it won’t always be cute. Call Dr. Ashlee Weber to schedule an appointment for the best value in quality, trusted orthodontics.