As parents, we love to see our child’s teeth coming in, even though teething can be a difficult process for us and our children. Then the teeth fall out, and the child proudly displays the space where their new, permanent teeth will erupt. Those permanent adult teeth come in, and that toothy grin is complete. But what happens when any of those teeth come in crooked, or late, or not at all? When is it a good time to visit an orthodontist to fix your child’s smile?
The American Association of Orthodontics recommends your child see an orthodontist by age 7. They should be getting permanent teeth by then, and your orthodontist will be able to tell whether your child’s smile will be OK or whether braces will be needed down the road for orthodontic problems. Smith & Davis Orthodontics uses high-tech digital x-rays and years of experience to tell you whether your child should start treatment now, later, or not at all.
Why Should My Child See an Orthodontist?
You may look at your child and see perfect baby teeth. They don’t appear too crooked, so everything must be OK. No need for an orthodontist, right? The trouble is, you probably won’t see the issues underneath. Your child’s palate (roof of the mouth) may not be wide enough to accommodate the larger permanent teeth yet to come in. Your child may have permanent teeth that aren’t developing properly, or they may be embedded.
The doctors at Smith & Davis Orthodontics know what to look for when it comes to tooth development. They will give your child a thorough examination, which includes digital images of your child’s mouth and teeth, and they will let you know if your child needs treatment now or will need treatment later.
What Is Two-Phase Orthodontic Treatment for Kids?
The best age to get braces for kids is when most of their permanent teeth have come in. However, there are steps that can be taken early to ensure that the process turns out better, even if it still means getting braces later. Orthodontists use a two-phase system to treat children from an early age. We treat certain issues now so that braces treatment will be easier and faster later.
Phase One Orthodontic Treatment
Phase One treatment involves preparing the mouth for permanent teeth and possibly for braces later. It’s also about helping the child stop bad habits that may be affecting the teeth. For example, if the child’s upper jaw isn’t wide enough to accommodate all the teeth properly, we may put in a palate expander. This device helps to widen the jaw so the teeth have plenty of room to come in properly.
We also may place a tongue crib if your child is still thumb-sucking or has a habit of thrusting their tongue against their teeth. Both habits can lead to an overbite or other dental issues, so it’s important to break those habits as soon as possible.
Can a 7 year old get braces? How old do you have to be to get braces? Can a child get braces during Phase One treatment? Most of the time, Phase One treatment involves dental appliances but not necessarily braces. Sometimes, we may use braces to solve severe issues now, then put them on again later once the permanent teeth have erupted. If braces are used during Phase One, they are often for less time than usual, 9-12 months compared to 12-24 months.
Phase Two Orthodontic Treatment
It will take a few years for your child’s permanent teeth to come in. Once most of them are in (minus a molar or two), your child can begin proper braces treatment that should last your child’s lifetime. This is Phase Two of treatment. The good thing about doing it this way is that your child may not have to wear their braces nearly as long as they would have, had their other issues not been treated first.
Without a tongue crib, your child might have continued sucking their thumb or thrusting their tongue against their front teeth. Over time, that would create an overbite, a deep bite, or an open bite. But early treatment can reduce or eliminate those problems. The palate expander gives your child’s mouth more room for the larger permanent teeth to replace the smaller baby teeth. These items benefit your child in the second phase.
How old can you get braces in Phase Two? Often, we install braces at about 11 or 12 years of age once most of the permanent teeth are in, including most of the molars. The last teeth, often called wisdom teeth, will come in later.
Because of the earlier treatment, your child may not need to wear their braces as long as they would have without the earlier treatment. The shorter treatment time can save you money in the long run.
Paying for Braces for Kids
You may think kids’ braces will be expensive if they come in two phases. In fact, the two-phase treatment plans are made to help save money in the long run through early intervention. That’s because dental issues that aren’t severe tend to cost less to repair.
How do you pay for braces for kids? Smith & Davis Orthodontics has several options available. We want to make braces treatment affordable for you and your child. That’s why we offer a low down payment to start your treatment and low monthly payments. We also allow extended payments for up to 36 months. Need a different plan? We work with you to customize a payment plan that’s best for you. We also accept major dental insurance carriers, and we accept Flex Spending Account (FSA) payments.
Orthodontic treatment shouldn’t be out of reach. Smith & Davis Orthodontics wants to make braces treatment affordable to you.
Kids Braces Treatment in Rogers, AR
If you think your child is ready for braces, or if it’s time for your child to see an orthodontist, bring them to Smith & Davis Orthodontics if you’re in the Rogers, AR, area. You can start with a free virtual consultation before visiting our office for a thorough evaluation. We’ll let you know whether your child is a good candidate for two-phase treatment or if they just need braces later, if at all. Let us help your child get a smile they can be proud of for years to come!