Children and Teen Orthodontics
Straightening teeth is so much more than giving your child an attractive smile to boost self-esteem and confidence. It also greatly affects their health. Crooked teeth are harder to clean, leading to cavities and gum diseases, while misaligned bites can make chewing uncomfortable and cause headaches and jaw pain.
Dr. Obeid and his team at Southlake’s best orthodontic practice, Orthos Boutique Smiles, have the knowledge, skill and experience to create a healthy, beautiful smile for your teenager or child.
Children begin losing their baby teeth around age six, and adult teeth begin to emerge. The American Association of Orthodontists recommend children have their first orthodontic exam at age seven to evaluate the development of teeth, palate and jaw alignment.
It may not be obvious when your child needs orthodontic treatment. Some signs are obvious, while others are subtle.
- Baby teeth falling out early or very late
- Predominantly mouth breathing
- Difficulty chewing or biting
- Popping or clicking sound when jaw opens or closes
- Thumb (or finger) sucking, excessive use of pacifiers
- Crowded teeth
- Teeth in abnormal positions
- Malproportioned jaw or teeth
Even if you don’t notice any issues, we recommend an orthodontic evaluation by first grade, while there is a mix of baby and permanent teeth. Early treatment can give your child an advantage that lasts a lifetime.
The Importance of Early Orthodontic Treatment for Youth
Orthodontic treatment can assist correct development of your child’s jaw to ensure adult teeth come in straight and their bite is aligned.
- Adjust the width of upper and lower arches
- Create space to address crowded teeth
- Avoid permanent teeth needing to be extracted in the future
- Address orthodontic issues caused by thumb or finger sucking
- Improve speech problems
Phases of Orthodontic Treatment for Children
Orthodontics for children is approached in two phases; “early interceptive orthodontics” is often followed by a traditional treatment.
Early interceptive orthodontics is typically recommended for ages seven to ten. It focuses on making changes while facial bones are still growing in efforts to create room for emerging permanent teeth.
Extracting problematic baby teeth, widening the palate and/or addressing jaw misalignment at an early age can foster proper oral development. This first phase of treatment can potentially eliminate the need for future use of orthodontic appliances.
It is best to wait until all their permanent teeth have come in before the second phase of children’s orthodontic treatment, braces.
The most effective and affordable corrective treatment for children and teens is traditional, metal braces. Braces straighten teeth, close gaps, and correct jaw alignment. They generally deliver faster results. In cases needing elastic bands to adjust jaw and bite position, your child can pick colors of bands each adjustment appointment, making it more personal and fun for them.
Teen Invisalign ®
For teenagers, Invisalign is an increasingly popular option of orthodontic treatment to discreetly get their dream smile. The unique teeth straightening system uses a series of clear, plastic aligners to gently move teeth and jaw into desired position. Invisalign Teen® is specially created for teenagers to help them take responsibility for wearing their aligners for the required time in order to ensure efficiency of results.