3 Orthodontic Appliances for Children

Beyond Braces

3 Orthodontic Appliances for Children

When it comes to orthodontics, most people are familiar with braces. Approximately 4 million Americans are wearing them, easily making them the most recognized type of orthodontic appliance. There are others out there that you might not know about. Here are three applies children may need to help them as they lose their baby teeth and their permanent teeth have begun to emerge.

The Nance

Used when upper primary teeth are lost too early, the Nance “button” is an acrylic plate that covers a section of the palate and connects to rear molars with metal bands. The purpose of the Nance is to preserve the open space created by the missing teeth, preventing the rear teeth from shifting forward and leaving room for the new teeth to emerge.

The nance can either be cemented in place or be removable, allowing the child to participate in sports.

Keeping the appliances and the surrounding area clean is very important, as food debris or germs building up underneath the button can cause irritation or a possible infection. Additionally, chewy and sticky foods should be avoided while the appliance is in place, as this can cause the Nance to become twisted or damaged.

The Lower Lingual Holding Arch

This device is quite similar to the Nance Button, but it is mounted on the bottom teeth instead of on the palate. A couple of metal bands are bound to the molars in the back of the mouth, and a U-shaped bar behind the front teeth prevents it from moving forward. As it doesn’t have the acrylic pad covering the pallet as the Nance does, it’s a bit easier to keep clean and doesn’t have the same infection risk if it isn’t cared for properly.

Palatal Expanders

Palatal expanders are custom-built orthodontic tools for children that are comprised of two pieces. The appliance is attached to teeth on each side of the upper mouth and connected in the center. A special tool is provided which is used daily to turn the screw in the center, allowing the appliance to gently apply pressure to widen the jaw. Palatal expanders are typically chosen to address issues such as crowding, impacted teeth, and crossbite.

Once the palatal bones are shifted to the proper position, the device will be left in place for a time to allow additional bone growth between them. This process will usually take between 3 and 6 months. As with the Nance, extra care should be taken to keep the area around the appliance clean.

Given the importance of proper oral care at home, it’s best to instill good habits in your children early. Teaching your children to brush and floss properly can be challenging, however, so we’ve offered a few tips in the blog article linked here. Give them a try and let us know how they helped you and your family!

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