Typically, earlier orthodontic treatment for children between the ages of nine and twelve years will start with a removable brace. Worn full time, day and night, this type of brace will help to straighten the front teeth and make more room for the new adult teeth trying to grow through, or improve the “bite”. This early intervention treatment can lay the foundations to future treatment without extraction of adult teeth.
Simple treatment may be carried out with a removable appliance (a plate that can be taken out to be cleaned). Removable braces have delicate wires and springs attached, which move the teeth using gentle pressure. They may be used to correct an early problem, but because they can only carry out simple tooth movements, they cannot manage complex treatment. Most patients will require fixed appliances later on to allow for better alignment and fit.
A functional appliance is a removable brace that works on the upper and lower teeth at the same time to help correct protruding front teeth. These functional braces help guide the teeth and bite into the ideal position. Functional appliances are generally only available to children up to the age of about 14 as they are most effective during active stages of growth. These are used to harness the growth of the jaws and improve way the upper and lower teeth meet. They work by positioning the lower jaw in a forward posture which stretches the muscles of the face and helps to correct protruding teeth. In some cases, these braces encourage favourable growth and help to improve the facial profile.
These braces are removable but should be worn as near to full-time as possible. The most popular functional appliances used in our clinic are called Twin Blocks. Although these braces can be quite chunky, if they are worn well, they can produce great results.
Typical treatments can last from 6-12 months. After this time, additional orthodontic treatment is often necessary to fine tune the position of individual teeth.