Sometimes our younger patients need a little extra time with braces before they get a full set. Many orthodontists use partial braces to treat minor orthodontic issues in kids before they get their full set of braces in their early teenage years.
What Are Partial Braces?
Partial braces go on the upper or lower front teeth to provide early minor correction to crooked teeth. Instead of putting brackets on every tooth, partial braces consist of brackets on the front four or six teeth. Back brackets on the molars are used to anchor the wire in order to pull the front few teeth in line.
Usually, elastics are tied around each bracket to keep the archwire in place.
These braces are only used for a short period of time to straighten teeth into the correct positions. Treatment time usually just lasts between 10 and 12 months. After this treatment, kids go on to a complete set of braces to once most of the adult teeth are in to correct any crowding, spacing, jaw or bite issues. Partial braces can make it easier to straighten the rest of the teeth later.
Why Use Partial Braces?
There are many different reasons why your child might need partial braces to start their orthodontic treatment:
Spacing Issues – Many kids have gaps or crowding because of too much or too little room in their mouth for their teeth. Orthodontists also use palatal expanders and headgears to intercept bite issues early.
Crowded Teeth – Sometimes front teeth are crooked because your child’s adult teeth are coming in incorrectly. Whether the top teeth are not in a good position, or the bottom teeth aren’t, partial braces can help create the room needed for the crowded teeth to come into place.
Crossbites – Crossbites occur when teeth on either the top or bottom jaw do not line up with the rest of the jaw when your child’s mouth is closed. This can cause problems eating and chewing. Partial braces can pull the teeth back in line and begin the process of fixing their bite.
While you might think it seems like overkill to have braces twice, partial braces can be extremely helpful as early treatment for your child. Not only can they speed up the entire treatment process but they can start aligning your child’s teeth before all of the adult teeth come in.
Partial braces make full sets of braces more efficient and help fix more severe issues that would normally take longer to correct.
How to Take Care of Partial Braces
Even though partial braces only cover four or six teeth, it’s still extremely important for your child to keep them clean and take care of them as if they were the full braces treatment.
Be sure they brush and floss at least twice a day and brush or rinse after they eat. Your kids should also avoid sticky and crunchy foods.
Because the wire is not connected to every tooth, it can break or get bent easier with hard foods. Eating softer foods can help with any tenderness they may initially feel after getting braces. If your child complains of their teeth continuing to hurt a few days after they get braces, they may be able to take an over-the-counter pain medication (under your supervision) to help.
If you have any questions about partial braces or think your child might need them, contact Charleston Orthodontic Specialists today at (843) 4-BRACES.