Invisalign for Teenagers: What Parents Need to Know

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“Mom, Dad?”

“Yes, Jonathan?”

“I know when I went to the dentist a couple of weeks ago she mentioned that I may need braces, but high school is hard enough already without braces.”

“Well son, if you don’t get them now, the problem will just get worse.”

“I know that. Dad. I don’t mean I don’t want to do anything. I actually want to talk to you both about Invisalign. I heard about it on TV and I think it could really work for me.”

Have You had a Similar Conversation with Your Teenager?

If so, you need to learn the facts about Invisalign. While the nearly invisible alternative to traditional metal braces can work for some teens, it isn’t for everyone.

At Chattahoochee Family Orthodontics, we know that you care about your child’s dental and orthodontic health. We know you want to make an informed decision that will benefit your teenager. In this article we’re going to reveal 7 things all parents should know when considering Invisalign for teenagers.

1. It’s Normally a Great Braces Alternative for Teens with Mild to Moderate Issues

Invisalign actually makes a product exclusively for teens called Invisalign Teen. It’s normally a great alternative to braces for teenagers that have only mild to moderate crowding or spacing issues.

Obviously “mild to moderate” is a bit vague, which is why it’s impossible to know whether or not your teenager is a good candidate for Invisalign without scheduling a consultation (which you can do right here on our website).

Once we are able to evaluate your teen during his or her Invisalign consultation, we’ll be able to provide more details on treatment and recommend the specific type of Invisalign treatment that is best for your teenager (there are different “types” of Invisalign treatment).

2. Your Teenager Will Have to Make a Commitment

When it comes to the success or failure of Invisalign treatment for teenagers, compliance is essential. While some teenagers only have to wear their aligners for a few months, more often than not, it’s going to be somewhere between a 1-3 year commitment.
While you don’t have to wear your Invisalign aligners all the time (more on this below), it does require a bit of responsibility.

However, that’s a good thing! Nothing wrong with using Invisalign to teach your teenager a little more responsibility. They will be better off for it as an adult.

3. Aligners Must be Worn Most of the Time

One of the benefits of Invisalign aligners over traditional metal braces is that Invisalign aligners are removable. While that’s great, it can present a bit of a “catch 22” situation at times.

Your teenager must have the self-discipline to wear the aligners most of the time, understanding that if they don’t, they are only hurting themselves. At our orthodontics practices in Cumming, Suwanee, and Hamilton Mill, GA we recommend that teenagers wear their Invisalign aligners for 22 hours a day.

Yes, 22 hours is a lot, and in reality if your teenager falls a little short and only wears them for 20 or so hours per day, they will be fine. Again, Invisalign aligners are great for teenagers because they can take them out while eating, going on dates, going to prom, and things of that nature.

4. It Will Require Regular Visits to the Orthodontist

Most orthodontists (ourselves included) are going to want to see your child about every 6 weeks.

Each set of aligners is worn, on average, for about 2 weeks, so seeing an orthodontist every 6 weeks or so to check on your progress is very important.

Some parents may see this as a minor inconvenience, but at our practice we will schedule your child’s 6-week Invisalign checkups well in advance so you can adjust your schedule accordingly.

Our goal is to work with you and your teenager to be as efficient as possible with our time and yours, while providing your child with a great outcome for their Invisalign treatment.

5. It’s Not Always More Expensive Than Traditional Metal Braces (Hint: Affordable Monthly Payments)

A lot of parents don’t consider Invisalign because they’ve heard it is very expensive. While Invisalign was quite expensive when the treatment first came to market, that is no longer the case.

At Chattahoochee Family Orthodontics, we are often 20-40% lower than our competitor’s pricing, and will beat any price you are quoted from any of our local competitors by 5%.
We are committed to being the top Invisalign provider in the North Atlanta area, so if you are in the Cumming, Suwanee, or Hamilton Mill areas of Georgia, give our office a call. You’ll be surprised at how low (sometimes less than $100/month) our payments for Invisalign Teen treatment can be!

For more information on Invisalign Teen and what Invisalign for teenagers will cost, click the link below:

https://www.chattahoocheefamilyortho.com/invisalign-teen

6. Your Teen will Have More Confidence (Invisalign is “Cool” These Days)

It’s not fair, but metal braces can have a bit of a social stigma attached to them, especially during the teenage years.

This simply isn’t the case with Invisalign. The clear, invisible aligners are actually trendy, meaning your teenager probably won’t mind wearing them more often than not.

While I’m sure you aren’t too concerned whether your teen is “cool” or not, Invisalign certainly won’t hurt their self-esteem in the same way that traditional metal braces might.

7. It’s Worth It

As a parent, the most important thing to you is that your teenager is healthy and happy. Invisalign Teen accomplishes both of these goals by giving your child a healthier, straighter, and more confident smile.

We’ve yet to talk with a parent who regrets bringing their teenager in for an Invisalign consultation! The teenagers and parents get the result they want (straighter teeth) without having to wear traditional metal braces.

So What is the Next Step?

We hope the 7 points above have shed a little more light on the Invisalign treatment process for teenagers.

As mentioned above, the only way to know for certain whether or not your teenager is a candidate for Invisalign is to schedule a consultation with our orthodontist, Dr. Patrick Barnes.

Dr. Barnes is experienced in providing Invisalign treatment and recommendations to teenagers. If you would like to schedule your Invisalign consultation with Dr. Barnes at our Cumming, Suwanee, or Hamilton Mill location, please call us today or request your appointment on this page here.

What Happens if My Child Doesn’t Get Braces?

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There are some cases where it is obvious that a child needs braces. As a loving parent or guardian it’s a no brainer at that point; you visit an orthodontist and get braces.

However, there are some cases where getting braces isn’t necessarily a cut and dry decision.

After all, even though braces have become more affordable in recent years (especially with the financing options available at Chattahoochee Family Orthodontics), it can still be a challenging financial decision if your child is “on the fence” regarding whether or not braces are needed.

So if you’re a parent or guardian reading this, and you aren’t sure whether or not you should get braces for your child, here are our thoughts.

Also, if you’ve visited another orthodontist and the feeling just wasn’t quite right, we recommend calling our practice closest to you (locations in Cumming, Hamilton Mill, and Suwanee, GA). If you would like to read more about our orthodontists, links to their bios are below:

We don’t always recommend braces…

It’s true! Obviously, the majority of patients who visit an orthodontist will need some form of orthodontic care, otherwise they wouldn’t be here.

That being said, we evaluate each patient carefully and recommend the correct treatment option to provide the best possible outcome for your child. That may be traditional metal braces or a different orthodontic appliance.

Here are some early signs your child may need braces

If your child is experiencing any of the following problems, it would be a good idea to take them to an orthodontist. As mentioned above, we are happy to provide a second opinion for you!

  • Teeth that do not meet correctly (gaps in teeth or teeth that overlap)

  • Teeth that are crowded

  • An underbite, overbite, or crossbite

  • Jaws that make a clicking or popping sound when chewing (this could be due to jaw misalignment)

  • Speech problems such as a lisp (this could be due to a jaw or teeth issue)

And more.

If you’ve noticed anything out of the ordinary (or if your child has complained about anything regarding their teeth or mouth), it’s a good idea to see an orthodontist for an evaluation, especially if your child is approaching the age of 7 or already past it (That’s when the American Association of Orthodontists recommends a first orthodontic appointment).

What happens if I pass on braces and there is a chance my child needs them?

House/rent payment, clothes, bills, food, etc…we get it. Life is expensive and believe us, we’re not saying that you shouldn’t put a lot of thought into it before your child undergoes orthodontic treatment.

A lot of team members at Chattahoochee Family Orthodontics have children and grandchildren, so we definitely understand and empathize with how much money it takes to raise a child (or multiple children) these days.

However, orthodontic care is an important and essential part of your child’s overall health and well-being; it isn’t really optional if your child needs it.

While a straight smile and correct bite are not only healthier, orthodontics will actually make your child feel better both physically and emotionally. Physically, not getting braces can lead to other more complicated dental and orthodontic issues down the road, including potential (costly) surgery to fix more extensive damage.

In addition, if a child needs braces and doesn’t get them (even if they are on the fence, so to speak), it can lead to bad headaches (due to a misaligned jaw or poor bite) down the road.

From an emotional standpoint children, teenagers, and adults with a crooked smile tend not to smile as much, which can lead to poor self-esteem and confidence issues that could hinder your child throughout life.

Need a second opinion? Or want to make sure braces are right for your child?

We are not a “braces factory.” Our number one goal is to ensure that your child gets the orthodontic treatment they need; even if that is no treatment at all!

We care for each and every one of our patients as if they were one of our own children, and put the need of the patient before profit. At Chattahoochee Family Orthodontics, we’re going to recommend the right treatment for your child, not just the one we think we can sell.

If you’re looking for an orthodontist who will be honest with you about your child’s orthodontic needs, give our location nearest you a call today.

Braces Options for Teens: What is Best for Your Child?

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While we treat patients of all ages, teenagers are the most common here at Chattahoochee Family Orthodontics. This is because orthodontic treatment is ideal for teens. It is a time of quick growth and change for them, which means it’s easier to shape their smile and bite.

If your child is in need of braces, you’re probably both wondering what the best option is. Teens can get nervous about the way they look and what others will think of them.

The good news– the options are far better than they used to be. In this article, we’ll discuss the different braces options for teens so that you can learn more about the best treatments.

Why do Teens Need Braces?

Braces can solve a number of oral health issues, including:

  • Overly crowded and crooked teeth

  • Gaps between teeth

  • Overbite (where the upper teeth bite over the lower teeth)

  • Open bite (where some teeth cannot properly touch each other)

  • Underbite (where the lower teeth stick out ahead of the upper teeth)

  • Crossbite (where both the lower and upper teeth are misaligned)

Fixing these issues carries several benefits. First, it improves the way your teen’s smile will look. Many studies have shown that people with healthier smiles have more confidence and often enjoy more success in work and in their communities.

But it’s not just about the way your child’s teeth look. Having a good smile also has several health benefits, such as:

  • Teeth are easier to clean and therefore less likely to get cavities or decay

  • Bad bites can create unnecessary pressure on certain teeth – this can lead to chipped teeth or sore jaw muscles

  • Straighter teeth contribute to more clear speech

We often recommend braces in a patient’s teenage years because it is a time of change. This means the treatment can happen more quickly than in their adult years, and they’ll also be surrounded by other teens who have braces.

Now we’ll discuss the most common types of braces for teens.

Metal/Traditional Braces

When most people think of braces, they think of metal or traditional braces. If you had braces as a teen, you probably had metal braces, but you should know they have progressed since then and are now lighter in weight and structure than when you were a teen.

They are made from metal brackets that are attached to each tooth and then connected by a thin archwire, which pushes and pulls on the teeth to slowly move them into the correct position.

The archwire is connected to the brackets using tiny elastics known as ligatures or o-rings. Braces need to be tightened occasionally to keep the teeth moving into the appropriate place. These elastics come in many different colors, which many teens actually love. They can choose the colors of their high school, their favorite professional sports team, or seasonal colors to go along with upcoming holidays.

Metal braces are a great choice because they are the most economical. They are also the ideal choice for younger teens because they are the most flexible and can change with your child’s needs. The downside is that they stick out the most; if your teen is really nervous about how they look, it might be worth considering the following two options.

Ceramic Braces

Ceramic braces work the same way as metal braces. The primary difference is that the brackets are made from a clear, transparent ceramic material. This means the braces are far less noticeable and blend in better with your child’s teeth.

Ceramic braces are more expensive than metal braces and can stain if not taken care of properly, but they could be a great choice for teens who don’t want shiny metal flickering from the front of their teeth.

Invisalign

One method that is growing in popularity is the use of invisible aligners. Treatment with invisible aligners can take anywhere from a few months to 2 years. Your orthodontist takes impressions of your teeth and creates a plan to correct the bite and alignment of the teeth over time. Every two weeks, your teen will receive a new, clear, plastic mouthpiece that they wear on their teeth. Each one slowly helps move the teeth towards the finished smile.

There are a few great benefits of invisible aligners. They are clear and not nearly as noticeable as traditional braces or even ceramic braces. They can also be removed, which makes dental care and eating a much easier process for teens. The problems— invisible aligners typically cannot fix severe problems and tend to be the most expensive.

What Option is Best for Your Child?

Now the question remains– which option is best for your child? Perhaps the best way to determine this is to discuss your options with an orthodontist you trust. You’ll want to understand your teenager’s concerns about getting braces and consider your budget. After your orthodontist examines your child’s mouth, they can recommend what they think is best.

If you’re looking for an orthodontist you can trust in the Cumming, Hamilton Mill, or Suwanee Georgia areas, then look no further than Chattahoochee Family Orthodontics.

Dr. Barnes is an accomplished orthodontist with years of experience and a passion for working with families and teens to provide great smiles that last a lifetime. Our priority is to make a positive impact in your child’s life by enhancing self-confidence, self-esteem and overall dental health.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment…we’d love to meet you.

How Braces Can Give Your Child More Confidence Later in Life

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Most kids aren’t too excited about getting braces. To them, braces means years (which seems like a lifetime if you’re 10) of metal in their mouth, not getting to eat candy, and having to spend extra time brushing their teeth.

But while the braces might not be their favorite experience, the investment will pay incredible dividends throughout the rest of their life. Many studies have shown the benefits that braces can provide to your child as they grow into adults.

In this article, we’ll explore those benefits, especially how braces can actually give your child more confidence later in life.

Why your child might need braces

Braces are a common treatment for a few different oral health issues, including:

Correcting bad bite (or malocclusion)

  • Bad bite often creates unnecessary pressure on specific teeth, which can lead to chipped or damaged teeth

  • Bad bite can also cause stress on your chewing muscles, which can lead to TMJ syndrome or headaches

Overcrowded teeth

  • Overcrowded teeth will make cleaning certain areas of your teeth more difficult, which makes tooth decay and destruction more likely

  • Overcrowded teeth can also lead to gum disease and/or the loss of teeth

Providing braces to correct these conditions at an early age sets your child up for a healthier and happier smile later in life. Having chipped, damaged, or no teeth is never good for your smile or confidence.

You can help prevent this for your child by taking action today. Not only that, you can save your child from some pain later in life from things like tooth decay and TMJ.

Early treatments reduce treatments in later years

For most people, they want braces less and less as they get older. Teens are more self-conscious of the way they look than children, and adults can be even more self-conscious. For instance, most adults don’t want to attend a board meeting with metal in their mouth (fortunately, there are some other options for adults wanting braces).

By reducing the amount of time your child will need orthodontic treatment later in life, you can help provide them with more confidence in the future. Many people are surprised to learn that the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) recommends a child start visiting the orthodontist at the age of 7.

While treatment isn’t always required at this age, it’s still an ideal time to evaluate a child. This is because bones are still growing and we can determine if any orthodontic treatment is needed now or in the future.

Treating things early, while those bones are still growing, can make treatment later in life as a teen much easier for your child. Things like overcrowding are far easier to correct while your child’s jaw is already growing.

A good smile affects happiness

If you look at pictures on social media, you might find a lot of people who hide their teeth when they smile. This might be because they have crooked, chipped, missing, or discolored teeth. Rather than show those imperfections to the world when they smile, they simply keep their lips sealed.

But if your child covers up their smile, it could actually hold them back. One study by psychologist Paul Ekman, PhD showed that the simple act of smiling actually makes people happier. If your child goes through life hiding their smile, then life will be more challenging for them.

A good smile affects perception

Another study explored how people perceive others with good smiles. They surveyed over 1,000 Americans about images of men and women with both straight and crooked teeth. Respondents were not told about the differences, but were asked to give their honest opinion about them.

Here are a few discoveries made by the study:

  • 29% of respondents said that another person’s teeth is the first characteristic they typically notice on someone’s face.

  • Respondents believed that those with straight teeth were 45% more likely to get a job than those with crooked teeth (when skill set and experience were the same).

  • People with straight teeth were seen as 57% more likely to get a date (based on their picture alone).

  • People with straight teeth were 21% more likely to be seen as happy.

  • People with straight teeth were 47% more likely to be viewed as healthy.

  • People with straight teeth were 38% more likely to be perceived as smart.

As you can see, having a good smile will drastically improve the way your child is perceived by others. Whether this is right or wrong, it is the way the world operates.

Giving your child braces at a young age makes it far more likely that they’ll have greater confidence later in life, and it also means other people will notice.

Next steps

If your child is older than 7 and hasn’t been to the orthodontist, it’s time to schedule an appointment. Remember, starting treatment earlier makes it easier later in life.

If you’re in the North Atlanta area, we recommend you schedule an appointment with us here at Chattahoochee Family Orthodontics. We have three convenient locations in Suwanee, Hamilton Mill, and Cumming, GA.

Our team has extensive experience working with children, teens, and adults who are looking to improve their smile and confidence. We take great pride in the results we’re able to deliver, so contact us today to see how we can help transform your smile.

Child Has Jaw Pain? It Could be a Misaligned Bite

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Has your child been showing signs of jaw pain? Perhaps you’ve seen them rubbing their jaw, maybe they’re less excited about eating, or maybe they’ve told you it hurts.

Jaw pain is surprisingly common amongst both kids and adults. While there are several causes of jaw pain, one of the more common explanations we find with kids is that they have a misaligned bite (also known as malocclusion).

The good news is — misaligned bites can be fixed! In this article, we’ll explain how misaligned bites can cause problems, and how you can help solve the problem of your child’s jaw pain.

How a misaligned bite causes jaw pain

Eating delicious food is an American pastime, and kids certainly love participating. As you know, when we eat we use our jaw muscles. What you may not know, however, is that your jaw is an extremely strong muscle, and chewing can generate forces as high as several hundred pounds of force per square inch.

If you or your child has a misaligned bite, those powerful jaw muscles will not bite down evenly. This can create imbalance or place significant pressure on specific teeth. Your jaw muscles will attempt to correct this, but often overcompensate. As you can imagine, chewing in this manner over time can lead to soreness in your jaw.

When jaw pain becomes severe it can affect more than just your child’s eating. It can also interfere with breathing, sleeping, speech, and even cause discomfort when the jaw isn’t moving. The joint where the upper and lower jaw meet is complex, and so if it cannot function properly, it can lead to chronic pain.

Imagine if you wore two different types of shoes and one was an inch taller. It might not be painful at first, but by the end of the day you’d likely feel sore in both your legs and back because your balance has been misaligned. It’s the same with a bad bite, except we can’t fix it by simply taking off our shoe! We must deal with it every day or we must find a way to correct the bite.

What causes a misaligned bite?

There are several reasons your child might have a misaligned bite:

  • Most commonly, a bad bite or crooked teeth is simply the result of genetics.

  • Their mouths are too small for their teeth, causing them to get overcrowded and shift.

  • Their upper jaw and lower jaws are not the same size.

  • Early loss of baby teeth.

  • They experienced a jaw injury.

  • Thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, pacifier use beyond the age of three, or prolonged use of a bottle.

As you can see, in most cases there is nothing you can do to prevent a misaligned bite from happening, but there are steps you can take to correct it.

Treatments for misaligned bites

Since every bite is different, there is no one-size-fits-all treatment. The following are some of the most common ways your orthodontist will help correct your child’s bite.

Braces:
Braces are the most common way to correct a misaligned bite. With this treatment, we place metal brackets to the front of the teeth and connect them with a wire. The wire is regularly tightened to slowly move the location of the teeth and jaw. Rubber bands might also be used to apply pressure that can slowly put the mouth into better alignment. After treatment is complete with braces, we will provide a retainer that helps keep your child’s teeth in the correct location.

Upper Jaw Expander:
An upper jaw expander is an appliance that helps correct an underbite. The appliance is a wire frame device that fits across the upper palate, and you use a special key to widen the expander a tiny amount every night. This slowly causes the upper jaw to get wider, thus fixing the misaligned bite.

Jaw Surgery:
Although rare, some people do require jaw surgery to correct their bite. Surgery is typically only for patients who experience misalignment that affects everyday functions such as eating, speaking and sleeping. Fortunately, with children, we can usually correct the alignment issue before it gets so bad that surgery is required.

There are other ways of treating misalignment, and your child might require a combination of appliances and braces. Whatever the case, you can trust that at Chattahoochee Family Orthodontics, we will speak honestly and work to find the best treatment possible for your child.

Benefits of fixing a misaligned bite

As we’ve said already, fixing a misaligned bite can prevent jaw pain. This alone is a great incentive to make a change, but there are other benefits you and your child should know about, as well:

  • Teeth are easier to clean, which reduces the risk of tooth decay and cavities later in life.

  • The confidence that comes from having a brilliant-looking smile will increase.

  • They will speak with more clarity.

  • They’re less likely to chip or lose teeth.

Correcting your child’s misaligned bite is an important investment, but it is also one that will reap rewards for years to come.

If you’re in the Suwanee, Hamilton Mill, or Cumming, Georgia areas, then contact us at Chattahoochee Family Orthodontics to discuss your options. Our priority is to make a positive impact in your child’s life by enhancing self confidence, self esteem, and overall dental health. Correcting their misaligned bite is one of the best ways we can do all three!

What Can I expect at my child’s first orthodontic appointment?

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It’s always hard to believe how fast children grow. Every new change is a new adventure, and one of the more visual changes is when they lose their baby teeth and grow adult teeth. Once you’ve started noticing those adult teeth growing, then it’s time to book your child’s first orthodontic evaluation.

If that seems too early, then just remember that visiting the orthodontist at a young age can save you many visits in later years by letting you know if early intervention is required. This is why the American Association of Orthodontics recommends that all children first visit the orthodontist at the age of seven. Don’t worry, your child won’t walk out of their first appointment with a full set of braces, but here are the things you can expect to happen if their first appointment is at Chattahoochee Family Orthodontics.

To be put at ease

Our first goal, with both our young patients and their parents, is to put everyone at ease. We know visiting any kind of doctor can be a little nerve wracking, so we take extra care to ensure your child feels comfortable. One of the main goals is to introduce you to our office and the family friendly atmosphere that is central to our mission statement.

Meet with a treatment coordinator

One of the first things you and your child will do is meet with a treatment coordinator. Her top priority is to get to know your child and help you learn about the care you’ll receive. She will review your child’s health history, ask and answer questions, and help you make informed decisions. We believe this one-on-one time to learn your family’s needs and educate our patients is vital to everyone’s success.

Panorex Radiograph X-Rays

After you’ve met with your treatment coordinator, your child will then obtain a Panorex radiograph and photographs of your child’s teeth. This is a dental x-ray, but it is different than the ones you might receive at the dentist. It does not reveal any cavities, but instead gives us a broad view of the jaws, teeth, and temporomandibular (jaw) joints. In other words, it gives us a great picture of how your child’s teeth are growing and what, if any, kind of orthodontic treatments might be required.

Meet with the Orthodontist

The orthodontist will meet with you personally to explain the findings from your X-Rays. He will also take a quick look at your child’s bite and teeth. The primary goal of the first evaluation is to determine what, if any, treatments are required and what the timeline might be.

We know that you and your child may have questions, and we welcome this opportunity to help you fully understand each step of treatment. We firmly believe that parents are a child’s number one advocate, and we want you to know you can ask your questions at Chattahoochee Family Orthodontics – We are parents, too!

Explore Treatment Options

There are four key things we’re looking to possible correct at your child’s first appointment:

  • Bite—the way the upper and lower teeth meet

  • Potentially problematic oral habits

  • Jaw growth

  • Any potential interference with the eruption (appearance) of permanent teeth

  • Each of these issues, when caught early on, can save you significant time and money in the future.

For instance, your child’s bite will affect how their teeth settle. If we can correct the bite earlier in the process, we can ensure the teeth settle in a better place and prevent chipped teeth or discomfort later down the road into adulthood.

Many children (and even adults) might have problematic oral habits. They might still suck their thumb or they may stick their tongue out too much, both of which can cause their teeth to become crooked. If we identify these habits early on, we can work with your child to correct them with education or appliances.

And of course, many teeth become crooked because the child’s mouth is too crowded. If we identify problems with jaw growth or interference with eruption, we can start creating more space at an early age so the teeth don’t come in as crowded.

Review financial options and procedures

Ultimately, we believe in allowing our patients and their families to make informed decisions. Because of that, the Treatment Coordinator will discuss your treatment plan and the payment options that come along with it. We know finances are always a concern, which is why we work with you to identify the right payment plan for your needs should you decide to start treatment. We will also obtain the amount of insurance your carrier will allow and factor that into the cost of your treatment plan.

Schedule an Evaluation today

If your child is ready for their first orthodontist appointment, then contact us at one of our three convenient locations in Cumming, Hamilton Mill, or Suwanee Georgia and schedule an appointment. We are a family oriented business, and would be thrilled to meet you and your child. Creating a healthy smile for your child is our passion, and we hope you’ll visit soon!

How to Take Care of Your Child’s Teeth While They Have Braces

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Convincing your kids to take care of their teeth is always a challenge, but once they have braces it seems to get even more challenging! Having braces, however, makes it all the more important to take care of teeth. Not only do you want to ensure the braces do their job and don’t break, but you also want to ensure healthy teeth with no cavities or tooth decay.

Helping your child remember that proper care of braces means they will work more quickly and efficiently can be a great motivator! Here are several things you and your child should do to take care of teeth with braces.

1) Brush after each meal

Brushing your teeth is important for removing plaque from teeth and maintaining good oral hygiene with braces. As you can imagine, braces provide quite a few places for food to get stuck on your teeth and create plaque.

For this reason, it’s important for your child to brush his or her teeth after every meal. If they can only manage twice each day, then swishing water around their mouth after lunch can help.

Brushing with braces is pretty similar to brushing your teeth without braces, but a couple tricks can help keep teeth clean. First, they should use a power toothbrush or a toothbrush with thinner, soft bristles that can gently clean around the braces, under the wires, and at the gum line. Second, fluoride toothpaste should be used to help fight tooth decay.

Then, they need to follow the following steps:

  • If your child has elastics (rubber bands), they need to remove them.

  • Your child should brush their teeth at a 45 degree angle where the gums meet the teeth, pointing upward on the lower teeth and downward on the upper teeth.

  • Gently brush each tooth individually, using a back and forth motion, and take the time to brush around each bracket on the top and bottom surfaces and clean the wire.

  • Rinse to cleanse any loose food particles.

  • Check to make sure all food particles are removed along the gums, between the braces, and on each tooth.

  • Replace the elastics.

2) Floss every day

Even though it takes more time, flossing is still very important with braces. If using actual floss, your child will probably need to use a floss threader. This floss threader looks similar to the eye of a needle – the floss is inserted into the threader, and then you use the threader to pull the floss under the wire of the braces.

If flossing proves to be too difficult, then you can also try thin interdental cleaning brushes. These provide your child with a slightly easier way to clean between teeth and can help remove the plaque between their teeth. Your orthodontist can provide advice on cleaning between the teeth and even provide samples so your child can find the best interdental cleaner for themselves.

3) Avoid sticky candy

Sticky candy may taste delicious, but it creates quite a few problems for your child’s teeth and braces:

  • Sticky candy is full of sugar, which causes tooth decay.

  • Because sticky candy gets stuck on your child’s teeth, it holds the sugar close and causes even more tooth decay.

  • Braces provide even more places for sticky candy to get stuck and hold sugar close to the teeth.

  • Sticky candy can also stick to part of the braces and rip them out while chewing.

  • For all of these reasons and more, your child should avoid sticky candy like taffy, caramel, or sugary chewing gum.

4) Avoid crunchy and hard food

Crunchy foods and hard foods can cause problems and should be avoided, just like sticky candy. Food like popcorn, hard pretzels, and jawbreakers can get stuck inside your braces and then cause the wire or brackets to break when chewing. A single bite of the wrong food can cause a lot of trouble for kids with braces!

5) Wear a mouthguard during sports

Sports like football, basketball, and soccer create a risk for your children and their braces. Loose balls or stray hands can accidentally hit them in the face and cause damage to their braces or gums. Most commonly, braces can cut the inside of their lip.

Wearing a mouthguard will help protect your child’s mouth and their braces. Your child may not like them, but they’re much better than a bloody lip or a broken bracket!

6) Regular visits to the dentist

Visiting the dentist to get teeth cleaned is a must for kids with braces. They can check and clean areas that are often forgotten or difficult to reach. They can remove excessive plaque and calculus buildup that can cause tooth decay. They can also check for healthy gums, and help teach your child good habits for keeping their teeth clean.

7) Partner with your orthodontist

Your child’s orthodontist will have extensive experience in providing, inspecting, and caring for braces. They’ve also had plenty of experience working with kids, teaching them how to take care of their teeth to ensure the braces do their job as quickly and effectively as possible.

At Chattahoochee Family Orthodontics, we partner with the entire family to give kids a great smile. If you have concerns or questions as a parent, we are here and ready to listen. Don’t hesitate to ask for advice or help.

We have three convenient locations in the Cumming, Hamilton Mill, and Suwanee, Georgia areas. If you’re looking for an orthodontist who will work with you and your family, then contact us today to schedule an appointment. We’d love to hear from you!

How do Braces Really Work? (The Science Behind Orthodontics)

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Today it’s very common to see children, teenagers, and adults wearing braces. Most people know that braces are all about straightening your teeth and correcting your bite, but few people know how they actually work.

In this article, we’ll discuss the reasons someone would get braces, along with how braces work and the different components that work together to straighten teeth.

Reasons to get braces

Because braces require a financial investment, many people question whether or not they actually need braces. But if your bite isn’t right, braces will provide several important improvements for your life.

First, if you have an abnormal bite, braces can correct this. Not only will orthodontic work improve the way your smile looks, but it will also improve the way your bite functions. Having a bad bite (also called malocclusion) can cause problems for years to come. A bad bite can lead to excess pressure to specific teeth, causing them to chip or break. It can also create tension and pain in the jaw.

Having a good bite, therefore, is essential to a healthy looking smile, reducing tooth damage, and preventing jaw problems.

Second, braces can also correct crooked teeth. Once again, there is a cosmetic benefit to correcting crooked teeth, but there are also benefits to your oral health. Crooked teeth can affect speech and create pockets of space around your gums that hold excess plaque and expedite tooth decay or tooth loss.

As you can see, braces play an important role in both cosmetic issues and oral health issues. Investing in braces now can prevent decades of problems later. Although crooked teeth and abnormal bites often go together, they don’t always.

If you or your child simply has an abnormal bite, you may not even notice, which is why it is important to check with an orthodontist before jaw pains or other issues develop.

How do braces work?

Put simply, braces straighten your teeth and align your bite. This can be accomplished in a few different ways. Here at Chattahoochee Family Orthodontics, we offer traditional metal braces, clear braces, Invisalign® Teen trays, and more. Each case is different and we take pride in developing treatment plans tailored to each patient’s unique needs.

Traditional braces work by simply applying the right amount of pressure to realign teeth. They consist of several different components, described below, that are designed to move your teeth into the ideal location.

Common components of braces

Brackets: These are small squares that we bond directly to the front of each tooth. Each bracket holds the arch wire (described below) that move the teeth. Brackets are available in stainless steel and tooth-colored ceramic or plastic, which some prefer because they blend in better with the teeth.

Arch wire: This is the wire that attaches to the brackets and guides the movement of the teeth. They are typically made of metal, and pull the teeth in the right direction to become straight.

Orthodontic bands: These bands wrap around certain teeth (typically molars) to provide an anchor for the brackets and arch wire. They are also cemented to the teeth to ensure a strong hold. Although common, they are not used in all patients as some only require brackets without bands.

Spacers: These do exactly what they say they do; they fit between your teeth and create space so that we can later fit the orthodontic bands in between the teeth.

Ligatures: These are small rubber rings or bands that fasten the arch wire to the brackets. Depending on your preference, they can be clear or colored.

Elastics: These rubberbands attach to hooks on brackets and connect the upper and lower teeth. These are important for correcting one’s bite; they apply pressure to move the teeth to achieve a perfect fit and a good bite.

Bringing it all together

Every child is different and therefore every treatment is different. Your child may only need small adjustments with a few components over several months, or they may require several years and styles of treatment. Whatever the case, here at Chattahoochee Family Orthodontics, we take great pride in meeting each child’s needs and giving them a great smile.

Although braces are an investment of both time and money, they play an important role in creating a lasting smile. Having good teeth not only looks good, but is important for your child’s health. Braces can help prevent long-term dental problems like tooth decay, jaw soreness, and chipped teeth.

If your child is over the age of 7 and hasn’t seen an orthodontist, we recommend you schedule an appointment soon. The earlier we begin treatment, the easier the treatment will be.

If you’re in the Cumming, Hamilton Mill, or Suwanee Georgia area, then we recommend you contact us and schedule an appointment today. We will examine your child’s teeth to determine if and when action is required, building a treatment plan that benefits your child for years to come.