When Should Your Kid Get Braces?

getting braces for kids

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that kids see an orthodontic specialist, like Dr. Stan Cox, at age seven for an orthodontic evaluation. Around this age, most kids have lost the majority of their baby teeth and have started getting permanent teeth. This stage is the optimal time to examine oral development and see how adult teeth are coming in. In addition, the jaws are growing and developing. With x-rays and scans, we are able to check progress and see potential problems. This is the best time to catch severe cases that would benefit from two-phased treatment. Typically, starting early treatment will save money and orthodontic treatment time later on in the patient’s life because it could lessen or even eliminate the need for surgery or more complex procedures.

Two-Phased Orthodontic Treatment

Two-Phased (Phase Two) treatment consists of two different parts to orthodontic treatment. Patients with this treatment plan will get orthodontic treatment twice. Usually, the first phase is done early and the second phase starts after a resting period. The goal is to create the best possible environment for permanent teeth when they are coming in.

Why Pay for Braces Twice?

It may seem like you are paying twice for kids’ braces because the treatment is broken into two parts. However, a two-phased orthodontic treatment plan is cohesive and will almost always save you money down the road. The first Phase is needed to prepare the mouth, teeth, and jaws for the second phase of treatment. 

Braces for young kids
Braces for kids treatment timeline chart
braces for kids in Atlanta

Kids Braces Phase 1

In most situations, the first phase includes treatment with an orthodontic appliance, like an expander, to create room in the mouth for permanent teeth to come in. Then after a resting period, the second phase includes straightening the permanent teeth and positioning them in the best places for good oral health.

What is the Resting Period?

Typically from ages 10-12, a patient in two-phased treatment will enter a “resting period” between phase one and phase two. After Phase 1 is complete, we will remove all orthodontic appliances or braces. During this time, we allow for any remaining permanent teeth to come in and allow the jaws to continue developing. In this resting period, patients are under observation and will come in for appointments so we can check progress. It is important that we see the patient often enough to know when to begin Phase 2 (if needed) at the optimal time.

Braces For Kids Phase 2

After the resting period, Phase 2 typically begins around age 12-14. Dr. Stan Cox will begin the second part of the treatment plan which normally includes full upper and lower braces or clear aligners. On average, Phase 2 will last 18-20 months.

Retainers For Kids and Retention Phase

Last, but not least, the patient enters the retention phase once orthodontic treatment with braces or aligners is complete. Retainers are the key to keeping your smile straight and beautiful for years to come. Remember to follow the instructions given by Dr. Cox to avoid needing braces again in the future!

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