Your Child and Pediatric Orthodontics

If you’ve ever asked — “What is Pediatric Orthodontics?” — we’ve got you covered. Read more below about what orthodontic treatment looks like for your child. 

Starting orthodontic treatment early in your child’s life will ensure a healthy smile that looks and feels good for many years to come. Proper orthodontic treatment will improve your child’s personal appearance and boost 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 for creating an effective treatment plan with your orthodontist.



You may be wondering what is the best age to get braces, and the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) recommends that parents 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 determine if your child needs orthodontic treatment or if the changes are a normal part of developmental growth.


An orthodontist will also be able to tell if enough room exists in your child’s mouth to accommodate the incoming permanent teeth. Most orthodontic conditions are easier to treat the earlier they are identified, when natural growth processes are at their peak. If some of these conditions are left untreated at a young age they may require surgery or permanent tooth extractions later in life. You may be wondering 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 age 8 or braces at age 10 for example.



While there is no braces age limit, there are some behaviors that require your child to seek out pediatric orthodontics earlier, 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

While there is no best age for braces, visiting a pediatric orthodontist will ensure proper alignment in your child’s jaws by allowing the orthodontist to determine the best time to begin necessary treatment. The orthodontist will watch growth patterns as your child develops, allowing early detection and timely treatment if/when any issues arise. This process can be much more difficult after your child gets older and his or her jaws and teeth have finished growing.

2. Supporting the Emergence of Permanent Teeth

Children typically start developing permanent teeth by the age of seven, which means a pediatric orthodontist will be able to recommend the need for care and best treatment options to consider at an early age.

3. Catching and Reversing Bad Habits Early

Pediatric Orthodontics can help identify bad oral habits early and mitigate 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 orthodontic treatment, the less invasive and more cost effective it can be. While your child’s permanent teeth are still growing, an orthodontist can identify issues early enough to begin treatment before issues worsen.

5. Avoid Issues That Emerge From Permanent Teeth

Some issues are treated much more easily in children than in adults. It’s helpful for the orthodontist to evaluate how your permanent teeth are coming through the gums in order to determine if treatment is necessary.

6. Create a Financial Plan for the Future

Seeking pediatric orthodontics at a young age helps budget for the future. We strongly recommend asking questions in early appointments in order to get an accurate idea of what to expect. Treatment plans can include appliances 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 issues and begins treatment, the better your results will be in the long-run. Visiting an orthodontist before the jaw finishes growing results in a faster, easier and better overall 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 when jaw irregularities are present. During this growth period, orthodontic treatment can be more effective and less invasive. 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 creates room for permanent teeth to find their path way in, so they are not severely displaced during the 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 above. Your child will then have about a year or so to rest before beginning phase 2 braces treatment, if needed. Phase 2 braces treatment will correct issues involving the permanent teeth, which should have been decreased during phase 1 braces treatment.


You may be wondering about the cost of phase 1 braces, and because there isn’t a standard treatment for each child, it’s difficult to predict what phase 1 braces will cost. We do offer custom financing options and monthly payment place for your braces, that will fit your unique situation so that the phase 1 braces cost doesn’t prevent you from achieving a healthy and beautiful smile.

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