If you’re a mom, you already know that part of modern-day motherhood is wearing multiple hats just to keep your family’s schedule functioning smoothly. Cook, chauffeur, nurse, teacher…the list goes on and on! Fortunately, there’s one hat you don’t have to wear just because you’re a mother – that of an orthodontist. You may be a pro at juggling work, school, extracurriculars, and special events, but when your child’s oral health is on the line, expert advice and guidance is essential. That’s where Kottemann Orthodontics comes in!

Orthodontists go through years of additional training after dental school in order to become highly-trained specialists in tooth movement, facial growth, and dental development. Our doctors have decades of training and experience between them, making our practice a sure bet when it comes to giving your child a lasting smile that looks and feels great.

While you may not be an expert on orthodontics, our doctors are! Orthodontic care is a big investment in your child’s oral health and their smile, and we want you to feel confident in the trust you’ve placed in our expert team. Let’s take a look at some of the important things you should know about orthodontics before your child begins any part of the orthodontic process!

(Do you have a child around the age of 7? Click here to schedule their first orthodontic evaluation!)

Children should have an initial orthodontic evaluation by the age of 7

Since orthodontics tends to be associated with teens, it can be surprising to learn that the American Association of Orthodontists recommends kids have their first orthodontic exam by about the age of 7. Yes, even though their mouths are still developing and they still have baby teeth. In fact, that’s actually the point! When we have the chance to see children around this age, we’re able to pick up on any potential problems before they become a bigger deal. This can help to lessen or eliminate a negative impact on your child’s permanent teeth and bite.

Because we treat many younger patients here at Kottemann Orthodontics, we’ve seen firsthand the difference preventive care can make. Starting treatment at the right time can have a truly positive impact on a child’s oral health! Even though most children won’t require any active treatment at first, an early exam lets us check for a number of issues to determine if and when orthodontic treatment is indicated.

Doctor checking young patient's teeth

Orthodontics does more than create straight smiles

It’s not uncommon to believe that orthodontics focuses on simply straightening smiles. However, treatment addresses much more! Because straight teeth aren’t the only indicator of a healthy smile, orthodontics focuses on the diagnosis, prevention, and correction of malpositioned teeth and jaws. That means orthodontists know to look beyond the surface of a smile. By examining a patient’s teeth, the movement and growth of their jaw, and the way the teeth are developing, they’re able to catch any impacted, missing, or overcrowded teeth that may otherwise go unnoticed.

Pick an orthodontic office that feels right

If your child needs orthodontic treatment, you’ll both be spending quite a bit of time in the orthodontist’s office. Depending on the type of treatment, most patients will need to be seen every 8-12 weeks or so. That’s why it’s so important to find an office you feel comfortable with! We have FIVE locations for your convenience, and each one offers top-quality care in a comfortable, friendly, clinical environment. We use only the latest technology and most innovative treatment options, so you can always be sure you’re getting the most efficient treatment and the best results possible.

There are multiple treatment options available

At Kottemann Orthodontics, we combine cutting-edge techniques with customized treatment plans to help patients of all ages achieve a straighter, healthier smile. We’re proud to offer the following treatments in each of our offices.

Traditional metal braces

Metal braces are composed of high-quality stainless steel brackets, wires, and bands, which work together to guide the teeth into the desired positions over time. Today’s braces are smaller, lighter, and more comfortable than ever before. They can even be personalized by choosing elastics from a wide variety of fun colors!

Traditional metal braces are the most widely used orthodontic treatment, and for good reason.They’re reliable, efficient, and cost-effective, and can be especially useful in cases that are more severe or complicated.

Ceramic braces

Ceramic braces, sometimes referred to as clear braces, utilize the same components as traditional braces. However, the brackets are made of a translucent ceramic material that blends in with the natural tooth color. When paired with clear, white, or tooth-colored elastics and ties, this offers patients an incredibly discrete treatment option. While ceramic braces are durable, they can sometimes be a little less so than their metal counterparts, and may be more prone to breakage. For this reason, we generally only recommend them for older teens and adults.

Self-ligating braces

Self-ligating braces are made from the same materials as traditional braces, but do not require the use of elastics. While they’re the same size as metal braces, they utilize a specialized clip instead of elastics to help the archwire guide teeth into place. The clip helps reduce the amount of pressure being placed on the tooth, and requires fewer adjustments because there are no elastics to replace. No elastics also means fewer appointments and less friction being placed on the teeth.

Invisalign clear aligner therapy

Rather than relying on metal or ceramic brackets and wires, Invisalign uses a series of clear, customized aligners to move the teeth over time. These aligners are nearly invisible and completely removable, giving patients extra freedom and flexibility. Because they’re composed of a soft but strong thermoplastic resin, patients can avoid some of the friction and abrasions that braces can cause. As the teeth begin to shift, the aligners will need to be changed out every 1-2 weeks to keep up with the movement.

Unlike braces, which are a fixed appliance, Invisalign relies almost entirely on patient compliance to work properly. The aligners must be worn a minimum of 20-22 hours every day, throughout the course of treatment. The Invisalign system also tends to work best for mild to moderate orthodontic issues, so it may not always be a suitable choice for patients with more severe or complicated cases.

Patient and her mom talking to the Kottemann front desk

Treatment times will vary on a case-by-case basis

There’s no “one size fits all” answer when it comes to how long a patient will be in braces or aligners. That’s because every case is different, and each patient will respond to treatment in their own way. The length of time your child will require treatment will vary based on their own specific case, along with the severity of the problem, the health of their teeth, gums, and supporting bone, and how compliant they are. On average, however, braces tend to be worn for about 12 to 24 months, while Invisalign treatment averages about 12 to 18 months.

Give your child the smile they deserve with Kottemann Orthodontics

As a mom, we know that you want nothing but the best for your child. That includes a beautiful, healthy smile that will last them a lifetime! If you’d like more information about orthodontics for your child, get in touch today to schedule a consultation.