Since partial braces only cover a few front teeth, back brackets (called molar tubes) will often be placed on the molars to keep the archwire, and subsequently, the front brackets, in place. Like any other type of braces, the wire will gradually straighten and align the misaligned teeth over time.
Since it’s only treating a few teeth, this treatment duration is usually shorter, lasting at least a year at most max, and applicable for patients of all ages. Partial braces can also be used on just a single dental arch exclusively, instead of both the upper and lower arches.
With child patients, these types of orthodontic appliances may sometimes be used as a supplemental treatment to streamline the orthodontic treatment process when they’re older, which is why they’re sometimes known as “Phase One Treatment”. Some of these specific issues these particular braces may be used to treat include:
- Open bite
- Crossbite of front and back teeth
- Deep overbite
- Thumb sucking habits (with younger patients)
- Flared teeth
Even though they only encompass a few teeth, it’s still extremely important to take diligent care of your partial braces, as you would with full braces. If anything, your wire will be more at risk and breakage-prone, as it’s not supported by your entire dental arch. To practice adequate due diligence with your partial braces, it’s important to adhere to the following:
- Only stick to foods suitable for a braces-friendly diet, and avoid ones that aren’t
- Avoid dark and/or acidic liquids that could stain the brackets
- Brush at a 45-degree angle to minimize direct pressure on the appliance
- Floss behind the wire
- If breakage occurs, use orthodontic wax to ease pain and hold brackets in place
- Following the above step, seek emergency orthodontic care ASAP