TOWNSVILLE ORTHODONTIC SPECIALISTS
What does my child need?
Plates have been used by Orthodontists for over a century to move teeth. Plates are designed to be inserted and removed by the patient. They are often prescribed for younger patients.
Braces, unlike plates, are glued to the teeth and cannot be removed by the patient. Braces are used for younger and older children, as well as adults. It is uncommon to see an adult issued with an orthodontic plate. (Please note that plates are not the same thing as clear plastic aligners such as Invisalign®).
What is a plate?
A plate has a plastic base that clips over teeth and usually has wires and springs that can push, pull or hold teeth. They are often custom-made, but in recent times, there has been an increase in popularity in the pre-formed stock-made plates.
Many Orthodontists believe that the stock-made plates (that look like store bought mouthguards) are likely to be less effective than the custom-made plates. More research is required to confirm this.
Early (or interceptive) orthodontic treatment may use plates as they are well accepted by young children. They are used to correct minor dental and bite problems. Their advantage over braces is that plates can be removed for tooth-brushing, eating and sport. However, this removability is also a plate’s biggest disadvantage. Plates are often lost, broken and not surprisingly, children will often refuse to wear the plate for the length of time prescribed by the Orthodontist.
When a plate is not worn, it will not provide the forces required to move teeth and cannot be effective. This can be a very frustrating and costly exercise for both parents and patients.
Plates cannot replace braces
If a patient requires early treatment, it is generally accepted that braces are still required later in development. Plates can improve teeth positions, but rarely correct teeth to a high standard. Braces have far more mechanical control and efficiency than plates. For this reason many Orthodontists will use braces over plates, even for early treatment. By definition, early treatment means that not all adult teeth have erupted and therefore can only move the adult teeth that are in the mouth at that time.
Early treatment usually results in longer overall treatment, and is commonly more expensive treatment. This is not to say that all early treatment is inappropriate. Early treatment in the right child (provided by the right practitioner) can be extremely beneficial.
Although plates may seem simple, when used incorrectly they can be dangerous!
When a plate’s effects are poorly understood and they are misused by an inexperienced practitioner, disastrous effects can occur.
It is understandable that this can be confronting and confusing for parents. Please remember that facial and dental development is a complex process. Therefore it is critical to consult the experts in the field. A referral is not required.
A specialist Orthodontist undergoes more than 5000 hours of supervised university training. After completing their specialist degree, they only practice orthodontics – e.g. braces and plates, all day, every day! An Orthodontist has unmatched expertise and knowledge for providing orthodontic treatment for you or your loved ones.
The success of your treatment is directly dependent on the quality of your practitioner and their understanding of your orthodontic needs.
Whether a plate or braces are used, an Orthodontist will provide you with a smile that is beautiful and functional for the long haul, with treatment that is effective and safe.