When Should My Child Visit an Orthodontist?
According to the Academy of Orthodontics (AAO), children should see an orthodontist by age 7. Despite common misconceptions, orthodontists do more than put braces on teenagers with crooked permanent teeth. Orthodontists correct a wide variety of issues including crowded teeth, breathing problems, biting or chewing issues, and misaligned jaws. When these issues are identified by an orthodontist and corrected at an early age, children are less likely to undergo lengthier, more intensive, and more expensive orthodontic treatments in their teenage years or adulthood.
If any issues are identified in your child’s bite, jaw, or teeth positioning, your orthodontist will provide expert guidance to let you know if the issues are small enough to be corrected by traditional braces when your child is older, or if the issues are more severe and need to be addressed sooner than later with the help of Phase I orthodontics.
Phase I orthodontics is reserved for younger patients with a mix of baby teeth and permanent teeth. This treatment corrects developing problems and creates an optimal environment for your child’s permanent teeth, while preparing them for Phase II orthodontics, which is a comprehensive treatment for children, teens, and adults with fully erupted permanent teeth.
Braces vs. Invisalign for Kids
When your child’s orthodontist recommends orthodontic treatment for your child, it’s important to explore all available options to ensure their treatment plan fits their lifestyle. After all, braces aren’t what they used to be! Two of the most common options for braces are traditional metal braces and Invisalign clear aligners. While both options provide the same outcome, the aligning methods differ, and one may be more suitable for some patients than the other.
Traditional metal braces are the most common choices amongst patients, providing reliable, cost-effective, durable orthodontic solutions. Even the most severe misalignments are treated with traditional metal braces. Kids enjoy the customizability of traditional braces because they get to choose the colors of the elastic ligatures on their braces. Color combinations are endless and can be inspired by school colors, sports teams, characters, personal favorite colors, and so much more.
Invisalign is a popular alternative to traditional metal braces. These clear aligners provide all the benefits of traditional metal braces while being discreet, requiring less office visits, and allowing patients to eat, brush, and floss normally. These clear aligners require more diligence and attention than traditional metal braces, making them ideal for responsible patients who will wear their aligners as recommended.
Your journey to a healthy, beautiful smile starts at an Nashville Children’s Dental Network office conveniently located near you! Our network of premier orthodontists have years of trusted experience treating kids, teens, and adults. View our list of convenient locations and schedule your appointment today.