A childs smile is just one of the many things that makes him or her unique. Unfortunately, a smile can also make children targets for bullying or ridicule by their peers. According to a study published in the December 2011 issue of Journal of Orthodontics, 13% of adolescents between the ages of 10 and 14 who have been examined for orthodontic treatment have been bullied. Many were ridiculed because of their sticking out teeth or malocclusion, and reported a negative impact on both self-esteem and oral health-related quality of life.
However, thanks to more discreet methods for straightening teeth, children can obtain a great smile and increase their confidence without other people noticing that they have braces. Lingual braces, also called hidden braces, can be used to improve a childs smiles without others noticing. The wires and posts are placed on the tongue side of the teeth, meaning that others will not be able to tell that a child has metal mouth, or a tin grin, etc.
To learn more about this, we spoke with Dr. Marvin Lagstein, Americas Life Transformation Dentist about the future of orthodontic treatment, specifically the benefits of lingual braces.
Momtrends: Can you talk about modern braces and how they have evolved over the years.
Dr. Marvin Lagstein: For many years braces had a negative stigma. They were "metal railroad tricks" and kids cried when they heard they needed them. They were often ridiculed. Then came tooth colored plastic braces which were more cosmetic. But these quickly stained and gave the appearance of dirty teeth. More ridicule. Next came ceramic braces. These are tooth colored, don't stain and are the choice of many kids and adults as well. However, there is no question- you are wearing braces. For many, this is still uncomfortable and a source of embarrassment. Finally, lingual braces emerged. Totally invisible, behind the teeth. More difficult for the dentist to use, but the perfect solution for kids and adults alike. No one knows you are wearing braces.
Momtrends: How can Lingual braces help with bullying?
Dr. Marvin Lagstein: Lingual braces takes away all the negativity of braces. Not only are they unnoticeable, but kids actually gain confidence during the process as they see themselves looking better everyday. Kids with confidence don't get bullied. Bullies need victims. They look for "anything different" in their victims. Not so with lingual braces.
Momtrends: Why do teens/kids typically need braces?
Dr. Marvin Lagstein: There are 2 reasons for braces: Cosmetics and Function. Cosmetics is presenting with straight front teeth and a smile that matches the face. Studies show that we form strong impressions of people from their teeth and smiles.
Function means the back teeth meet like scissors. This is a "healthy bite". Healthy bites avoid adult problems like TMJ, headaches, gum and bone disease.
Momtrends: Why do you think there is a stigma to braces and bullies?
Dr. Marvin Lagstein: Bullies search for "different from the norm". They capitalize on anything that isolates their victim especially if it's perceived as less than "cool". In the past, braces was perceived as "nerdy", thus a perfect target for bullying. Kids in traditional braces have felt uncomfortable socially, and bullies are keen on picking up on this. Thus, bullying becomes self fulfilling for those who are most vulnerable.
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