Orthodontics for Children and Teens

Every year, millions of children and teenagers undergo orthodontic treatment.

Wearing braces not only increases the attractiveness of a smile, it can reduce a person’s risk for oral disease and prolong the lifespan of biological teeth.

In fact, for many people, wearing braces during childhood or one’s teenage years is seen as a rite of passage. Orthodontics is an important aspect of establishing the foundation for oral health by aligning teeth and one’s bite to as healthy of positions as possible. NRH Orthodontics offers focused, state-of-the-art care that is tailored to the unique needs of each person. From traditional braces to appliances with advanced technology, our practice has straightened thousands of smiles over the years.

Orthodontics in Phases

For children, orthodontic treatment might be broken up into phases. Also known as “early interceptive orthodontics”, breaking treatment up into phases can be very beneficial.

Early Interceptive Orthodontics (Phase I)

This the first phase of treatment typically occurs between the ages of seven and ten. Phase 1 treatment focuses on taking advantage of growing facial bones to create room for the emergence of adult teeth. For instance, Phase I treatment could involve extracting stubborn baby teeth and increasing the size of the jaw with expanders. Increasing the size of the palate or width of the jaw creates extra room for teeth to move. Sometimes, Phase I treatment can eliminate the need for invasive appliances later on in a child’s life.

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Phase II Treatment

Phase II treatment begins after all adult teeth have erupted. This type of treatment typically involves the conventional metal and wire braces that people are accustomed to seeing. This phase of treatment aligns teeth by applying consistent but gentle force to teeth. As spacing issues resolve, teeth will appear noticeably straighter in a matter of months. After treatment is complete, patients will wear retainers to prevent teeth from moving back to their previous positions.

Teen Orthodontics and Sports

Almost every teenager wants a straight, beautiful smile. A straight smile is an important social asset associated with youth, vigor, and health. Teens receiving braces have different options for treatment such as Damon self-ligating braces, conventional braces and Invisalign.

Custom Mouthguards

One of our services that is incredibly beneficial to many teenagers is prescription mouthguards. A custom mouthguard is a wonderful way to protect your child from facial trauma caused by contact sports and other high-risk physical activities. Since a mouthguard from our practice is custom made, teens’ oral appliances will fit perfectly over teeth and braces so that it can provide optimal protection from hard and soft tissue injuries.

For more information on treatment for children and teenagers, call NRH Orthodontics today!

Children and Teens FAQs

What age can a child be considered for orthodontic treatment?

Children should actually see an orthodontist quite early on. The American Dental Association and the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children visit an orthodontist by the age of seven, unless recommended earlier. The reason age seven is advised is because orthodontic treatment can be broken up into phases and the first phase of treatment can begin as early as age seven.

Also called Early Interceptive Orthodontics, phase one treatment can ensure that emerging adult teeth have enough space to erupt by expanding the palate and the still-developing mandibles. For instance, the need for headgear can be greatly reduced with early interceptive orthodontics.

Does insurance cover braces for children?

Most dental insurers provide some coverage for children’s orthodontic care. Insurance coverage varies so it is very important to check with your provider to determine the extent of coverage for your treatment.

Can my child still play sports with braces?

Yes, children can continue to lead active, healthy lifestyles while wearing braces. Many children who play sports wear braces. It is recommended, however, that those who engage in high-risk physical activities like skateboarding or contact sports like football wear custom mouthguards and other necessary protective gear. We know that sports are great for children’s physical and social development and we strive to make treatment as comfortable as possible so that there are minimal disruptions to one’s daily life.

On average, how much do braces cost?

The cost of braces varies. While most of us are familiar with common orthodontic appliances like brackets and wires, orthodontics actually utilizes many different types of appliances and treatment protocols to align and space teeth properly. Some appliances take advantage of a patient’s still-developing jaws to expand the size of the mouth so that room can be created for emerging teeth. Every patient’s needs are different and every person responds to treatment at different speeds. Since time and types of treatment vary, it is best to receive an estimate from our team after your consultation. This estimate will be based on our orthodontist’s specific treatment recommendations.