Your Child and Pediatric Orthodontics

If you’ve ever wondered — “What is Pediatric Orthodontics?” — we have your answers. Read on to learn more about the many orthodontic treatments we can provide for your children. Please feel free to contact us when you are ready to discuss it further.

Starting orthodontic treatment early in your child’s life is essential in ensuring a healthy smile that looks and feels good for many years to come. Proper orthodontic treatment will help to greatly improve your child’s personal appearance and boost their self-confidence at a critical young age. Because our jaws grow at different rates, receiving an initial consultation at a young age will give you and your family plenty of information to help you create an effective treatment plan with your orthodontist.



You may be asking, “what is the best age to get braces?” According to the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), parents should take their children for orthodontic treatment by the age of seven, before all of the permanent teeth come in. Because of the wide disparity in tooth development around the age of seven, an expert needs to offer the final determination about if your child needs orthodontic treatment or if the changes are a normal part of developmental growth.


An orthodontist will also have the ability to tell if enough room exists in the child’s mouth to accommodate any more incoming permanent teeth. Most orthodontic conditions are easier to treat when identified earlier, at a time when natural growth processes are at their peak. If some of these conditions are left without treatment at a young age, the child may require surgery or permanent tooth extractions later in life. You may be questioning if it’s too late to get braces; and we are here to reassure you that each child is different and we can still move forward with treatment if you decide to explore braces at an age later than seven.



While there is no actual age limit braces, there are some behaviors that require your child to seek out pediatric orthodontics earlier in life, especially if you have a question about the alignment of the teeth or bite. Additional reasons to see an orthodontist sooner than the age of seven include:

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth
  • Thumb sucking
  • Tongue thrusting
  • Mouth breathing and snoring
  • Trouble biting, speaking or chewing
  • Protruding, crowded or widely spaced teeth
  • Clenching jaws
  • Grinding teeth

If you notice these behaviors in your child before the age of seven, we strongly recommend making an appointment with an orthodontist.



1. Proactive Treatment by a Pediatric Orthodontist

Visiting a pediatric orthodontist will help to ensure the proper alignment in your child’s jaws by allowing the orthodontist to determine the best time to begin treatment. The orthodontist will watch the growth patterns of your child as he or she develops, allowing early detection and timely treatment if/when any issues arise. This journey can be much more difficult after your child gets older and his or her jaws and teeth are fully grown and developed.

2. Supporting the Emergence of Permanent Teeth

Children start growing permanent teeth at a young age, which means a pediatric orthodontist will be able to recommend the need for care and best treatment plans to consider at an early age.

3. Catching and Reversing Bad Habits Early

Identifying bad oral habits early can help detour from the negative effects they may have on your child’s teeth and mouth. The best age for braces can be determined by seeing an orthodontist before the age of seven to help prevent bad habits — such as thumb sucking — and improve the overall orthodontist experience. If untreated, these bad habits can increase the need for emergency orthodontic treatment or even surgery.

4. Less Invasive and More Cost Effective

The earlier you start your child’s orthodontic treatment, the less invasive and more cost effective it can be. While your child’s permanent teeth are still breaking through, an orthodontist can identify issues early enough to begin treatment before any issues worsen.

5. Avoid Issues That Emerge From Permanent Teeth

Some issues are treated much easier in children than in adults. It’s helpful for the orthodontist to evaluate how the child’s permanent teeth are coming through the gums in order to determine if any clear treatment is even necessary.

6. Create a Financial Plan for the Future

Seeing an orthodontist earlier rather than later on in life will help you to better budget for the future. Seeking pediatric orthodontics at a young age helps parents to budget for the future. We strongly recommend that you ask questions in early appointments in order to get an accurate idea of what to expect. Treatment plans can include the necessary applications at various stages. Seeing an orthodontist early will help create a plan that works with your finances.

7. More Favorable Long-Term Results

The earlier an orthodontist identifies any issues and begins treatment for it, the better your results will be in the long-run. Visiting an orthodontist before the jaw completes growth results in a faster, easier and overall better treatment plan.


Throughout the orthodontic industry, pediatric orthodontics also gets referred to as Phase I orthodontic Treatment, which is the first of the phases of braces and includes progressive treatments for patients ages seven to eleven —especially whenever any jaw irregularities are present. During this growth period, orthodontic treatment tends to be more effective and less invasive. This essential early detection allows an orthodontist to create a perfectly timed, personalized treatment plan for your child.


The following list outlines potential signs your child may need Phase I orthodontic treatment:

Protruding front teeth Loss of baby teeth too early or too late Trouble biting or chewing Sucking thumb or fingers Underbite or a bite that shifts to one side Misaligned lower and upper teeth Snoring

The goals of Phase I orthodontic treatment include:

Gain proper width of the upper and lower jaws. Create room for crowded teeth to enter. Align the jaws to allow proper growth. Reduce the risk of trauma to protruding teeth. Hold space for permanent teeth that need to erupt. Reduce the need for tooth removal. Reduce treatment time with braces. Minimize the need for surgical treatment with certain growth patterns.

In order to begin Phase I orthodontic treatment, the orthodontist will take digital models, x-rays and photographs of your child’s teeth in order to determine the type of orthodontic appliance needed, the duration of treatment time needed, and the frequency of visits to the orthodontist.


A successful Phase I orthodontic treatment helps to create room for permanent teeth to find their path way in, so they are not severely displaced during the overall growth process. You will notice a difference in phase 1 braces before and after, as we will start to address some of the items in the list of signs as seen above. Your child will then have about a year or so to rest without any necessary treatment before beginning phase 2 braces treatment, if needed. Phase 2 braces treatment will serve the purpose of correcting issues involving the permanent teeth, which should have been decreased during phase 1 of the braces treatment.


You may be curious about the cost of phase 1 braces, and because there is no standard treatment for each child, it tends to be difficult to predict what phase 1 braces will cost. We do offer custom financing options as well as  monthly payment place for your braces, that will fit your individualized situation so that the phase 1 braces cost doesn’t prevent you from achieving a healthy and happy smile.

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