Your Child and Pediatric Orthodontics

If you’ve ever asked the question — “What is Pediatric Orthodontics?” — we’ve got you covered. Read on to learn more about the unique orthodontic treatments we can provide your children and please contact us when you are ready to talk more.

Starting orthodontic treatment early in your child’s life will ensure a healthier smile that looks and feels better for many years to come. Proper orthodontic treatment can improve your child’s personal appearance and boost their self-confidence at a critical young age. Because all of our jaws grow at different rates, receiving an early initial consultation at a young age will give you and your family a sufficient amount of information for creating an effective treatment plan with your orthodontist.



You may be curious about what the best age to get braces might be, and the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) recommends that parents first 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 overall tooth development around the age of seven, an expert needs to be the determining factor over if your child needs orthodontic treatment or if the changes are a normal part of developmental growth.


An orthodontist will also be able to determine if enough room exists in your child’s mouth to accommodate the incoming permanent teeth. Most orthodontic conditions are easier to treat when they are identified earlier, 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. Maybe you’re 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 age limit for 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 may 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.

Reasons to Consider Pediatric Orthodontics

1. Proactive Treatment by a Pediatric Orthodontist

While there is no perfect 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 any necessary treatment. The orthodontist will watch any 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 completed development.

2. Supporting the Emergence of Permanent Teeth

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

4. Less Invasive and More Cost Effective

The earlier your child starts orthodontic treatment, the less invasive and more cost effective it can be. Even while your child’s permanent teeth are still growing, an orthodontist can typically identify issues early enough to begin treatment before issues worsen.

5. Avoid Issues That Emerge From Permanent Teeth

Some issues can be treated much easier in children than they can be in adults. It’s helpful for the orthodontist to evaluate how your permanent teeth are coming through the gums to determine if and what treatment is necessary.

6. Create a Financial Plan for the Future

Seeking pediatric orthodontics at a young age can help a family to budget for the future. We strongly recommend that you ask questions in the early appointments in order to get an accurate idea of what to expect. Treatment plans can include appliances at various stages. Seeing an orthodontist earlier rather than later 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, the better your child’s results will be in the long-run. Visiting an orthodontist before the child’s jaw finishes growing will result in a faster, easier and better overall treatment plan.


Throughout the orthodontic industry, pediatric orthodontics is also known 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 is usually much more effective and much less invasive. Going to an orthodontist early allows us to customize your journey with orthodontics and create a plan that works best for you and 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 will be effective in creating room for permanent teeth to find their path way in, so they are not severely displaced during the growth process. You will notice a clear difference in the before and after braces of  phase 1. We will then start addressing some of the items in the list of signs above. Your child will then have about a year or so to rest before beginning the phase 2 braces treatment, if necessary. Phase 2 braces treatment will correct issues involving the permanent teeth. These issues should have already been decreased during phase 1 braces treatment.


In terms of the overall cost for phase one braces- there isn’t a standard treatment for each child, and therefore, it’s difficult to predict what phase 1 braces will cost. We do offer custom financing options for each family as well as monthly payment places 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.

Ready to schedule a free consultation?