Orthodontics for kids and teens

Whether your children are ready to start their orthodontic journey or you’re preparing for treatment early, understanding how orthodontics for kids and teens can differ from adult treatment can help you feel confident in their treatment plan. Here are some of the common questions we’re asked about childhood orthodontics:

Are Orthodontic treatment options the same?

Orthodontic treatment options vary whether you’re a child or a teenager.

Although some treatment for children can be deferred until children are going through their pubertal growth spurt, normally around age 12 -13 years old, it is preferable to have an orthodontic assessment between the ages of 7-9.  Occasionally there are issues such as cross bites that should be addressed at a younger age

Current Orthodontic treatments, such as metal/ceramic braces, lingual braces or clear aligners are available for kids and teens. Your, orthodontist will let you know if your child is a suitable candidate.

Their recommendation will be based on a number of factors, including the type of movements required to achieve an ideal result. This is important as only making the front teeth straight will likely result in re-treatment and additional cost to the parents.

Do only children get Phase I treatments?

Early orthodontic treatment, also known as Phase I, is required in some childhood cases. This type of treatment is unique to children, as it is performed at a younger age when their teeth and jaws are more malleable. Typically, early intervention is suggested when a child presents with severe jaw misalignment or overcrowding, or if they have difficulty chewing, a speech impediment or a persistent thumb sucking habit. As Phase I treatment usually takes place between the ages of 8 and 10, it is recommended that you bring your child in for their initial Orthodontic assessment at age 7 to ascertain whether early intervention will be required. It is important to make sure the person giving you this advice is a Registered Specialist Orthodontist.

Do I need to consult an orthodontist who specialises in treating children?

A fully qualified orthodontist is experienced in treating patients of all ages. Their specialist training gives them the knowledge to diagnose and treat irregularities of the teeth and jaw regardless of their patient’s age, from young children through to adults. With their experience and knowledge of orthodontics, you can feel confident that they’ll be making recommendations for your child’s treatment based what’s best for their smile.

If you’re ready to consult a specialist orthodontist about your child’s smile, you can use our Finder Tool to find an ASO-registered specialist orthodontist near you.

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