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Orthodontics

What are the Different Types of Braces for Kids and Teens?

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What are the Different Types of Braces for Kids and Teens?

At Kids Mile High, we know that getting braces is a big deal for any child or teen. It’s a big first step towards achieving the smile they’ll have for the rest of their lives. But the decision to get braces is one thing — choosing from the many different kinds of braces is another. Depending on your personal preferences for how you want to look and your various lifestyle choices, there are a number of factors that indicate the type of braces that are best for you.

Every one of our Denver orthodontic patients has different goals for their smiles and there are many different ways to get straighter teeth. Traditional braces are a classic, proven way to straighten your teeth, but many teens would prefer a more discreet option. Fixed brackets might fit easily with some kids’ lifestyles, but for those who play sports, a removable device, like Invisalign aligners, are a better choice.

With so many different types of braces available, it can be difficult to know what’s best for your kids. But your kids shouldn’t have to change their whole lives to work with their orthodontic treatment — their orthodontic treatment should work with them to change their lives. If you’re struggling to choose the best type of braces for your teens, here’s everything you need to know about the kinds of braces we offer at Kids Mile High.

Not Your Parents’ Metal Braces

 

Metal braces are probably what come to mind when you first hear the word “braces.” That’s because they’re tried and true, with decades of proven results under their belts. Metal braces have been so popular over the years that they’ve practically become a teenage right of passage. They’re an effective method to straighten your kids’ teeth and give them the smile of their dreams.

Here’s how they work: the brackets are bonded to your teeth, where they’ll stay put for the entire duration of treatment. Then, your orthodontist will fit the brackets with a wire that’s bent into the desired position of your teeth. The brackets and wires work together to put pressure on your teeth and slowly move them into place. You can even customize them with funky colored elastics to let your personality shine through.

Even though metal braces have been around forever, they’ve come a long way from the chunky brackets and pokey wires they used to be. Braces today are much more streamlined, with smaller brackets and thinner wires. They cause less discomfort than traditional versions and are much more subtle than the mouthful of metal your parents wore in the ‘70s!

Cool and Clear Ceramic Braces

 

At Kids Mile High, we understand that metal braces aren’t for everyone. Some kids, particularly older kids and teens, would rather not have metal hardware on display every time they smile. For patients who prefer a more discreet kind of braces, we offer clear braces. Also known as ceramic braces, this type of treatment functions in the exact same way as metal braces, using brackets and wires to gradually straighten your teeth. But instead of metal, they’re made from (you guessed it) ceramic. The material blends in with the color of your teeth, meaning your braces will be much less noticeable to the naked eye.

The most common concern with ceramic braces is that they’re not as durable as metal braces and they can stain easily. That’s why they’re often recommended only for older teens and adults who will take care of them properly. But the newest kind of clear braces are stain resistant and made from stronger materials. Kids Mile High offers the latest ceramic braces technology for kids and teens of all ages.

Invisalign Teen: No Brackets, No Problem

 

You can’t argue with the proven teeth-straightening power of braces, but a fixed orthodontic device isn’t compatible for every person’s preferences and lifestyle. Fortunately, your kids can effectively straighten their teeth — free from brackets and wires — with Invisalign Teen.

Here’s how the process works: first, we’ll take a digital scan of your child’s mouth using the latest technology. Dr. Owens will use the scan to create a 3D model and map out the ideal movement of your child’s teeth. The prescription will then be sent to Invisalign where a series of customized clear aligners will be created. As your teen’s teeth continue to move throughout treatment, he or she will receive a new set of aligners to wear approximately every one to two weeks.

The benefits of Invisalign are obvious: since there’s no fixed appliance, your kiddos can still eat their favorite foods, it’s easier for them to clean their teeth and they can simply remove their aligners for sports activities. But for Invisalign Teen to be effective, your child has to wear his or her aligners for 22 hours a day. This type of orthodontic treatment is best for responsible kids who will stay on top of their treatment schedule and keep track of their aligners.

Kids Mile High is proud to offer the latest in orthodontic treatment options to give you and your kids the opportunity to choose your own braces adventure (under our expert supervision, of course!). Need help deciding which type of braces are best for your teen? Call your Denver orthodontist to book a consultation today.

Meet Your Denver Orthodontist: 20 Questions for Dr. Justin Owens

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If you’ve ever visited Kids Mile High, you might recognize Dr. Justin Owens as your fun, friendly Thornton orthodontist. As an expert in creating beautiful smiles for kids, he can even get your little ones excited about going to the orthodontist. Dr. Owens believes a good orthodontist is an orthodontist you can trust — so read on to learn more about him and why he got into the business of little smiles.

1.Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Denver, Colorado.

2. Why did you become an orthodontist?

A person’s smile is one of the first things you notice about them. Making a first impression with a beautiful smile can be very powerful, and I love helping people achieve their dream smile.

3. What is the best vacation you’ve ever taken?

Exploring Thailand…and eating Thai food!

4. Who is your role model?

I’ve always looked up to my mom and dad.

5. What’s your favorite thing about coming to work at Kids Mile High every day?

I love hearing about what our patients are into at the moment, whether it’s a video game, movie, sports or music.

6. Did you have a nickname as a kid?

Everyone used to call me Hawk.

7. What’s your favorite movie?

Star Wars, all the way!

8. What was the most challenging part of orthodontic education?

While I was in school, I was working seven days a week while trying to help raise a family at the same time. That was hard!

9. What’s your hidden talent?

Umm…I’m a good whistler?

10. Did you like going to the orthodontist as a kid?

I loved it! (Weird, I know.)

11. What’s the next thing on your bucket list?

I want to travel more. Hawaii is probably next.

12. What is something your patients would be surprised to learn about you?

I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in 2002.

13. Which sports team do you root for?

Broncos, Rockies, Nuggets, Avalanche…I love them all equally.

14. What do you think makes you different from other orthodontists?

As an orthodontist, it’s my job to look at people’s teeth to see how I can improve them. I try to put myself in my patients’ shoes to make the experience as fun and enjoyable as possible.

15. If you could have a superpower what would it be?

Definitely flying.

16. If you had a time machine, which era would be your first stop?

I’d go straight to ancient Egypt.

17. What’s your spirit animal?

Eagle…so I could fly!

18. What’s the best advice you can give parents about caring for their kids’ teeth?

Find a dentist you trust. Find a dentist your child trusts. Then see this dentist regularly.

19. What is your favorite food?

I’m a huge sushi fan.

20. What is your favorite holiday?

I love Christmas.

Want to meet Dr. Owens in real life and find out if he’s the right orthodontist for your little ones? Book an appointment today!

young children with braces smiling at camera

When Should My Child See an Orthodontist?

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young children with braces smiling at cameraWe all want the best in life for our kids — from their health and happiness, down to their self-esteem and confidence. For many of us, children and adults alike, that confidence starts with a smile. After all, studies show that having straight teeth improves happiness and overall quality of life. Seeing an orthodontist early in life can streamline the process.

While most of us seem to associate braces and other orthodontic treatments with the awkward pre-teen and teenage years, in reality your child should have his or her first visit with an orthodontist well before high school. Your child’s teeth might look fine to the untrained eye, but an orthodontist has the expertise to detect bite and jaw issues in patients from an early age.

The doctors at Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry are your go-to orthodontists for kids in Denver. Offering pediatric dentistry and orthodontics in Stapleton, Englewood and Thornton, we’re committed to helping your little ones put their best smile forward. If you’ve ever wondered if your child needs to see an orthodontist, here’s when to book their first appointment and why early orthodontic treatment is worthwhile.

What’s the right age to take my child to an orthodontist?

You might be thinking, “My child’s teeth are straight and she’s not having any pain — so why should I take her to see an orthodontist?” The answer is because there may be underlying issues that only an orthodontist can see. The best time for your child’s first orthodontic visit is at seven years old. This doesn’t mean your second grader is going to walk out of her first appointment with a mouth full of braces, but the sooner we have an idea of how your child’s teeth are developing, the better off he or she will be.

Orthodontic treatment is meant to complement your child’s growth by managing existing problems and preventing further issues from occurring. Orthodontic treatment is most effective when timed strategically alongside your child’s ongoing development. Intervening at the appropriate time can make a world of difference in your child’s teenage and adult years.

Dr. Owens, Dr. Paddy and Dr. Roger are trained to assess and identify bite issues early on, even when your child still has baby teeth. By the age of seven, your child’s mouth has developed enough to detect potential problems and determine whether early orthodontic treatment is necessary. Early diagnosis is the best way to prevent orthodontic problems in adulthood, so if your kiddo is nearing their seventh birthday, call your pediatric dentist in Denver to book an appointment.

What happens at my child’s first orthodontic appointment?

The goal of the first appointment is to determine if treatment is needed and, if so, the appropriate time for optimum results. A thorough clinical examination is given. Photographs and x-rays of the teeth and mouth will be taken. The orthodontist will give a diagnosis, explain any orthodontic problems and recommend a course of action.

The outcome can vary; your child’s teeth may still be developing and a recommendation for a recheck visit in six months may be indicated. Similarly, the orthodontist may feel your child would benefit from early interceptive orthodontic treatment.  

Interceptive orthodontics refers to any orthodontic treatment that seeks to fix problems before they have a chance to fully develop. Through the use of fixed or removable devices, such as spacers or retainers, these treatments guide dental and facial development for optimal health and appearance. Interceptive orthodontic treatment is not right for everyone, but it may lessen the need for more extensive intervention in the future. That’s why it’s so important to get an assessment early on.

What are the benefits of early orthodontic treatment?

There are a number of issues that may come to light at your child’s first orthodontic appointment: misaligned jaw, tooth crowding, or habit-based problems like thumb sucking or teeth grinding. All of these issues can be fixed with interceptive orthodontics, but this requires early assessment. Getting a head start now can have significant benefits for your child’s health and happiness.

At seven years old, your child’s jaw is still developing — interceptive orthodontics uses this to its advantage. For example, it’s easier to correct problems like crowding before your child’s adult teeth have come in. Likewise, jaw alignment issues are easier to address when the jaw has not yet settled into its final position. If Dr. Paddy, Dr. Castro or Dr. Roger recommend interceptive orthodontics, there’s no need to stress. They only want to help your child and stop issues from developing any further. Remember: a little treatment now usually means less invasive and less lengthy treatment down the line.

An early diagnosis can also help parents prepare financially for the cost of further orthodontic treatment like braces. At our pediatric dentistry office in Thornton, we are happy to accept Medicaid for medically necessary orthodontic treatment. If you’d like more information, please contact us to chat.

How does interceptive orthodontics work?

Orthodontic treatment typically happens in two phases. Interceptive orthodontics is also referred to as Phase 1 orthodontic treatment. During this phase, Dr. Paddy, Dr. Roger or Dr.Owens will correct any negative oral habits (like thumb sucking), guide the development and alignment of the jaw, and support the proper positioning of incoming adult teeth. The goal of Phase 1 orthodontic treatment is to set the foundation for a beautiful, healthy smile for your child.

Here are some common conditions that interceptive orthodontics can treat:

  • Teeth crowding
  • Overbites and underbites
  • Jaw irregularities
  • Crossbite, deep bite and open bite
  • Narrow dental arches, caused by thumb sucking or pacifier use
  • Missing teeth
  • Protruding teeth

While Phase 1 interception significantly reduces the need for further treatment, it typically is not enough to fully correct dental problems on its own. In most cases, Phase 2 is required to complete your child’s orthodontic treatment. Phase 2 treatment refers to the normal orthodontic treatment you’d expect for your pre-teen or teenager. This is when your child would receive braces, if needed, to shift adult teeth into their desired final position. The necessity for and length of Phase 2 depends on your child’s unique situation and if they’ve previously received Phase 1 orthodontic treatment.

Adolescence is a pivotal time of life that comes with its own set of challenges. It’s hard enough without being self-conscious about your teeth. Our role as pediatric dentists in Denver is to give your kids the opportunity to grow up proud to show off their smiles. Ready to book your little one in for his or her first orthodontic appointment? Visit Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry in Stapleton, Englewood or Thornton. We’d be happy to answer any questions you have about your child’s dental health.