Braces for children
Pediatric orthodontic problems, many times referred to simply as malocclusion, meaning
“bad bite,” include problems of missing teeth, extra teeth, jaws
which are out of alignment and crowded teeth. Most of these type
problems are inherited but some can present as the result of an
accident, thumb sucking, or losing baby teeth later in the child’s
life than normal.
As kids get older, their bite and the straightness of their teeth can
become an issue. Orthodontic treatment begins earlier now than it
used to, but what once was a symbol of preteen embarrassment —
a mouth filled with metal wires and braces — is a relic of the past.
Kids as young as age 7 now sport corrective appliances.
Dentists know that manipulation of teeth at a younger age can be
easier and more effective in the long run. Orthodontic treatment
with children and pre-teens is shorter than an adults’ because the
bone around a young child’s teeth and the jaw bones can still be
molded by dental braces as the child continues to grow. Younger
children's teeth can be positioned with relatively minor orthodontic
devices, preventing major treatment later on.
We at Gainesville Dental Arts in Gainesville, do the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of
dental irregularities. Orthodontic treatment corrects the alignment of teeth, jaws and lips
and prevents physical health problems such as tooth decay, gum disease, bone destruction
and chewing and digestive difficulties.
Please call 703-743-2324 for an appointment and visit us at Gainesville Dental Arts in
When to begin Pediatric Orthodontic Treatment?
The ideal age for starting treatment ranges from three to twelve years of age. It is important
that an orthodontic evaluation be done at an early age which is why, at Gainesville Dental
Arts in Gainesville, we are alert to these types of problems, and advice parents, and make
referrals to an orthodontist whenever there is a known problem or any question that may
need a specialized evaluation.
The average orthodontic treatment time is about 24 months but will vary with each patient
depending upon the severity of the problem, the general health of the teeth, gums, and
supporting bone. Also, a factor in the length of time for treatment is the commitment from
the patient in following instructions and following general dental health care.
How Do I Know If My Child Needs Orthodontic Treatment?
It is usually difficult for you to determine if treatment is necessary because there are many
problems that can occur even though the front teeth look straight. Also, there are some
problems that look intimidating and complex which will resolve on their own. Our initial
exam is comprehensive and informative, and we would be more than happy to see your
child and make any recommendations necessary.
At What Age Does My Child Need to Consult for Braces?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that your child be evaluated by age
seven. An orthodontic screening no later than age seven enables the orthodontist to detect
and evaluate problems that exist, advise if treatment will be necessary, and determine the
best time for the treatment. Early detection of any orthodontic problems is important in
order to take early corrective action and avoid more difficult treatment later.
Is Orthodontic Treatment Painful?
Orthodontic treatment has improved dramatically. As a rule, braces make your teeth tender
and sore for a few days, but it is not painful. This annoyance can be relieved with an OVER-
THE-COUNTER analgesic such as Tylenol or Motrin. Today’s braces are more comfortable
and use technology that reduces the discomfort. We use the latest in biocompatible braces,
the advanced technique with light force and the highest quality of orthodontic materials, in
order to reduce discomfort and treatment time.
What Is Phase I (Interceptive) And Phase II (Comprehensive) Treatment?
Phase I, or Interceptive Treatment, usually starts while the child has most of his or her baby
teeth and a few of his or her permanent front incisors. This stage in development is usually
between the ages of seven and nine. The goal of Phase I treatment is to intercept a
moderate or severe orthodontic problem early in order to reduce or eliminate it. These
problems include skeletal discrepancies, cross bites, and severe crowding.
Phase I treatment takes advantage of the early growth spurt and turns a difficult
orthodontic problem into a more manageable one. This often helps reduce the need for
extraction or surgery and delivers better long-term stability. Most Phase I patients require a
second phase of treatment in order to achieve an ideal final bite.
Phase II treatment usually occurs a number of years later. Usually, we are waiting for the
remaining permanent teeth to erupt, including second molars, before Phase II begins. This
most commonly occurs at the age of 12 or 13. The goal of Phase II treatment is to achieve an
ideal bite with all of the permanent teeth.
Does Everyone Need A Phase I Treatment?
Not every child needs a Phase I treatment. Only some children with certain bites require
early intervention. All others can wait until most, if not all, of their permanent teeth erupt.
However, it is still important that every child be evaluated by age seven.
What Is The Duration Of Orthodontic Treatment?
Most patients are in braces for 6-24 months. Treatment time depends on the development
of the dentition, the severity of the problem, patient cooperation, and the degree of tooth
movement required. In rare instances, usually due to a very difficult case or a non-compliant
patient, the treatment may take longer than 24 months.
What Is The Difference Between Extraction And Non-Extraction
Each treatment is a way to address crowding of the teeth. Extraction therapy is a technique
where one or more permanent teeth are removed to make room for the other teeth in the
mouth. This is in contrast to non-extraction therapy where one expands a patient’s jaw
and/or adjusts the size and shape of some teeth to make them fit within the jaw. Our
office’s treatment philosophy is very conservative, and we do make every effort to avoid
extraction. However, for severe crowding and severe jaw discrepancy, the extraction
approach may be required.
Is Orthodontic Care Expensive?
When orthodontic treatment is implemented at the proper time, treatment is often less
costly than the dental care required to treat the more serious problems that can develop
years later. Orthodontic fees have not increased as fast as many other consumer products.
Financing is usually available, and many payment programs that will be offered to you will
meet your needs. In addition, many insurance plans now include orthodontics.
Encourage your kids to use a mouth guard during sports, which can prevent serious dental
We at Gainesville Dental Arts in Gainesville know when to refer you to a different type of
specialist, such as an orthodontist for correction of teeth irregularities or an oral surgeon for
Please consult Dr. Kaur if your child has irregular teeth. Call 703-743-2324 for an
appointment and visit us at Gainesville Dental Arts in Gainesville.