Orthodontics for children

A head start to a great smile

Parents all around Louisville and Mt. Washington want the best for their children. That includes healthy teeth and a radiant smile.

All kids should get an orthodontic check-up by age 7

To have a long-lasting and healthy smile, your child needs properly aligned teeth and jaws. In other words, they need a healthy bite.

The American Association of Orthodontics and Dr. Jennings recommend that all children receive an orthodontic evaluation by age seven. If you notice a problem earlier, there’s no reason to wait for a free evaluation at Jennings Orthodontics.

By age seven, your child’s teeth have developed enough for subtle problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth to still be spotted while some baby teeth are still present.

Most of the time, no treatment will be necessary, so we’ll place your child in our free Jennings Orthodontics growth monitoring program. We’ll perform periodic checkups to observe your child’s growth and determine when and if orthodontic treatment is necessary.

In other cases, Dr. Jennings might find a problem that can benefit from early treatment.

What is Phase 1 / early treatment?

Early treatment may prevent or intercept more serious problems from developing and may make treatment at a later age shorter and less complicated. In some cases, Dr. Jennings can achieve results that may not be possible once the face and jaws have finished growing.

Orthodontic treatment at Jennings Orthodontics during childhood has numerous benefits. The timing of treatment is important because Dr. Jennings’ goal is to obtain ideal results and prevent teeth and jaw alignment problems in the future.

When treating children, Dr. Jennings uses the child’s growth to her advantage to achieve the best outcome.

Dr. Jennings can guide jaw growth in cases where your child’s jaws aren’t in the right position or if they have a case of bad crowding.

Choosing the best time for treatment

While the age that kids get braces may vary, orthodontic treatment at Jennings Orthodontics mainly often begins between the ages of 9 and 14. Some orthodontic problems are easier to correct if Dr. Jennings treats them early.

If Dr. Jennings thinks your child will need treatment, she will let you know when it will be best to begin treatment. This gives orthodontist Dr. Jennings the best chance to:

  • Correct harmful oral habits
  • Create a more pleasing arrangement of teeth, lips and face
  • Guide jaw growth
  • Lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth
  • Guide permanent teeth into a more favorable position
  • Improve your child’s appearance and self-esteem

Common bite problems that benefit from early treatment include:

  • Crossbite: the teeth of the upper and lower jaws don’t line up properly and can create facial asymmetry.
  • Underbite: the lower jaw protrudes in front of the upper teeth.
    Scissors bite or crossbite of front teeth.
  • Overjet: commonly referred to as “buck teeth,” is when the upper front teeth jut outward and are more susceptible to dental trauma.

Dr. Jennings uses functional appliances that modify the way your child’s jaws are growing to correct these problems and improve facial aesthetics.

Various appliances can widen the palate and promote or inhibit jaw growth as needed to create better relationships between the upper and lower jaw.

Early treatment also creates facial symmetry and can make or preserve room for teeth that haven’t yet erupted.

Orthodontic treatment performed at the right growth stage often can prevent the need for tooth extractions and surgery down the road.

Signs the bite's not right

It’s not always easy to tell when your child in Louisville or Mt. Washington may need braces or has an orthodontic problem. Teeth that look straight may hide a bite problem.

Here are some clues that may indicate the need for orthodontic attention:

  • Thumb-sucking

  • Crowded, misplaced or blocked-out teeth

  • Jaws that are too far forward or back

  • Biting the cheek or biting into the roof of the mouth

  • Protruding teeth

  • Upper and lower teeth that don't meet or meet in an abnormal way

  • An unbalanced facial appearance

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth

  • Difficulty chewing or biting

  • Breathing through the mouth

  • Grinding or clenching of the teeth

Schedule a free consultation to learn more

If your child has a dental issue, please contact us by setting up a free consultation at Jennings Orthodontics. We’d love to discuss your child’s orthodontic options and Dr. Jennings will develop a customized treatment plan for your child’s needs.