Orthodontics for Children and Teens

orthodontics-kids-plano-txOur team specializes in providing effective orthodontic treatment by utilizing the latest techniques and technology. Our practice and the American Dental Association recommend that parents bring their children in for their first orthodontic consultation around seven years old. This initial visit will help determine the best type of treatment(s) for your child’s needs.

Braces

Braces consist of fixed appliances like brackets, which are cemented over teeth, and wires that connect brackets to establish healthy tooth alignment. Children and teens can benefit from orthodontic treatment when it comes to increasing oral function and the aesthetics of a smile. In addition to conventional braces, we offer the Damon Braces system. Damon Braces have clear brackets and sliding components that move with teeth.

Two Phase Treatment

Two-phase treatment, also known as interceptive orthodontics, involves dividing orthodontic and dentofacial treatments into two stages. The first phase of this approach centers on taking advantage of growing jawbones to establish a healthy occlusion (bite). Jaw and facial bones can continue to develop until about the age of 14. While the jaws are developing, an orthodontist can intercept potential alignment issues by guiding jaw growth and alignment with oral appliances. This first phase of treatment can reduce the length of time a person will need to wear braces along with prevent the need for obstructive external orthodontic appliances later on.

After the first phase is completed and once most adult teeth have emerged, a patient will begin wearing braces. The objective of braces is to create healthy tooth alignment and fine tune adjustments to the occlusion. This phase of treatment is normally completed before a person graduates high school.

Dentofacial Orthopedics

Dentofacial orthopedics is an area of expertise within the specialty of orthodontics that focuses on the positioning of jawbones for optimal oral function and a healthy airway. Adults and children may receive dentofacial treatment but it is more common for children.

Aligning the jaws and palate is done by utilizing functional appliances such as the Herbst, MARA, or Twin Block. For instance, a MARA is an appliance that encourages forward growth and movement of the lower mandible to correct overbites. Twin Blocks can expand the palate or maintain space for emerging teeth. Essentially, these appliances can address issues with mouth movement so that oral function is comfortable and smooth. Beyond oral function, the alignment of jaws is important since misalignments can narrow the diameter of the airway.

We are accepting new patients. Call our office to ask questions or schedule an appointment.

Frequently Asked Questions

1What age can a child get braces?

If children require interceptive care, also known as early intervention orthodontics, they may begin to wear orthodontic appliances as young as seven. When our team recommends interceptive orthodontics, it is because we are trying to prevent the development of issues that might require more invasive and complex treatment in the future. Treating children at a younger age can reduce the invasiveness of future treatment by taking advantage of the fact that facial bones are still growing and developing. Common treatments at this stage include expanding the width of the palate and using fixed appliances to guide the growth of jawbones. For those who don’t require two-phased treatment, braces may be recommended for those in their pre-teen and teenage years.

Since every patient’s situation is unique, there is no standard age for treatment.

2How much do braces cost?

The cost of braces will depend on whether a child or teenager’s caregivers have dental insurance and the extent of their treatment. Additionally, the amount of coverage provided for orthodontics varies among carriers and plans. Sometimes, insurers only cover a portion of the cost of braces, which means that the rest of the cost will be paid out of pocket.

Another major factor in the cost of treatment is the type of orthodontic appliances used and the duration of treatment. For instance, if orthodontic appliances and treatments are needed in addition to standard components of traditional braces, patients’ treatment will cost more. Sometimes, patients may require treatment from a multi-specialty approach. In this case, our orthodontists will work with general dentists, pediatric dentists, or oral surgeons to provide various types of treatments in complex cases, which will also increase costs.

Since the cost of braces can vary, it is best to receive estimates for treatment after scheduling a consultation with our team. This way, our staff can give you more accurate information.

3Does insurance cover braces for children?
Most family dental insurance plans cover treatment for braces. However, insurers may only cover a portion of the costs or limit coverage to yearly maximums. Since out of pocket costs can vary based on coverage and the type of treatment needed, it is wise to speak with our staff and your insurance company about the financial aspects of treatment.
4Can my child still play sports with braces?
Yes. Wearing braces does not interfere with one’s ability to live an active lifestyle or participate in sports. It is important, however, to exercise caution with sports and activities with a high risk for injury. We strongly recommend that parents and caregivers invest in custom mouthguards for patients – especially those with braces as brackets and wires can cut into oral tissue in the event of a traumatic facial injury. A mouthguard will help protect teeth and prevent orthodontic appliances from coming loose during activities.

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