ORTHODONTICS FOR CHILDREN

Each child is unique, with dental and facial complexities that need monitored as they grow.  

Our American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that children have an exam with an orthodontist by the age of seven.  Why so early?  This is the age when the front and back permanent teeth are erupting, which allows your orthodontist to evaluate overall tooth eruption, bite position, and jaw growth.  Although most children will not need early treatment, there are orthodontic problems that can develop into severe issues down the road if not addressed early.

Children Kids Phase I Orthodontics at Orthodontist

At GFO, Dr. Godley will evaluate your child’s facial growth and development to look for proper balance and symmetry.  She will check that teeth are developing properly, take appropriate x-rays if needed, and make sure that you know how help give your child a great smile with a balanced bite.  During your orthodontic journey, we will be there to guide you on how to help minimize any problems that arise as your child grows.  

Common Treatments for Kids

OBSERVATION

That's right - no treatment.  Fortunately, the majority of children will NOT need early intervention.  We simply monitor your child's facial and dental development.  This also allows us to decide the best option if treatment is needed, when the time is right.  At GFO, we do not charge for these check-up visits while we wait and watch - we value the importance of monitoring your child’s growth and helping you plan ahead.  

PHASE I

This typically involves some temporary braces or aligners to make space for incoming adult teeth or to make  improvements in alignment and bite.  Interceptive (early) treatment can fix a crossbite, close big spaces, and help prevent damage to the gums, teeth, or bite.  This phase can also be used to help encourage proper growth of the jaws.  Depending on the treatment, early treatment can last anywhere from 3 months to a year, and is followed by a retainer.  Because these early Phase I braces are typically followed later by teen/adult braces or aligners (Phase II), we try to make this experience as simple and fun as possible!

EXPANDERS

These are appliances that slowly expand the jaw to make room for incoming teeth while getting the back teeth into proper alignment and bite.  Expanders are typically used to fix a crossbite, create space if significant crowding is expected, or to correct a narrow jaw.  They may also be used to help encourage proper airway development. During your consultation Dr. Godley can evaluate if and when an expander is necessary, and let you take a look at examples.

HABIT APPLIANCES

These are custom appliances that can help your child break a habit such as thumb sucking or tongue thrusting. Habits such as these can lead to significant dental and growth imbalances if not addressed early.  During your consultation, our orthodontist can review some initial home remedies that you may find works for your child without the use of an appliance!  If caught early, stopping a habit can often result in self-correction of a bite.  

ORTHOPEDIC APPLIANCES

 

These are appliances that help encourage growth of the top or bottom jaw.  A commonly known orthopedic (functional) appliance is the Herbst, which helps encourage growth of a deficient lower jaw.

RETAINERS

Whether it is to hold teeth in line so that they don't shift, or a specialized retainer to help improve a deep bite or fix a crossbite, we can review your options.