Children's Orthodontist in Tucson, AZ

May 8, 2024

The importance of early orthodontic evaluation is crucial for your child's dental development. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children receive their first orthodontic consultation by the age of 7

This early assessment allows orthodontists to identify and address potential dental issues before they become more complex. 

Early intervention can also simplify future treatments and ensure better dental health, setting your child up for a lifetime of smiles with properly aligned teeth and a balanced facial profile.

Understanding Children's Orthodontics

Orthodontics is about more than just aligning teeth; it encompasses a holistic approach to enhancing both dental alignment and overall oral health for children. 

Children's orthodontists are specialists in identifying and treating misalignments and irregularities in teeth and jaws from an early age. Initiating treatment early can help avert more severe problems as a child grows and is an essential part of their dental care.

The journey with an orthodontist typically starts with a comprehensive evaluation, including the use of digital X-rays or 3D imaging to precisely plan the treatment. These specialists look for common issues such as crowding, gaps, overbites, underbites, and the overall balance of jaw and facial growth.

Available treatment options in children's orthodontics include traditional metal braces, clear braces, and sometimes early interventions that may involve devices to guide the development of the jaw and teeth. Orthodontists apply these treatments to make adjustments gradually and comfortably, ensuring both efficacy and patient comfort.

Orthodontists also play a crucial role in educating families about maintaining oral health during orthodontic treatment. They offer advice on proper oral hygiene practices for children with braces and recommend dietary choices that prevent damage to orthodontic devices. 

This guidance is vital to ensure the treatment's success and to maintain excellent oral health throughout the process.

Signs Your Child May Need an Orthodontist

It's not always obvious when a child needs to see an orthodontist. While some signs may be clear, others are more subtle, but recognizing them early can lead to timely and effective treatment. 

Here are some indications that your child might need to see a children's orthodontist:

  • Irregular Loss of Baby Teeth: Both early and late loss of baby teeth can signal abnormal development that might require orthodontic attention. An orthodontist can assess whether the timing will affect the alignment of permanent teeth.
  • Difficulty Chewing or Biting: If your child often complains of difficulty or discomfort while chewing or biting, this may be a sign of misalignment that an orthodontist should evaluate.
  • Crowded, Misplaced, or Blocked-Out Teeth: Crowding or oddly positioned teeth are common reasons parents seek orthodontic care for their children. These issues can not only affect a child’s smile but also their ability to clean their teeth properly.
  • Jaws That Shift or Make Sounds: Any noticeable noises or shifting in the jaw when your child opens or closes their mouth can indicate a jaw alignment issue that might require orthodontic intervention.
  • Biting the Cheek or Roof of the Mouth: Frequent biting of the inside of the cheek or the roof of the mouth can sometimes be linked to dental misalignment.
  • Teeth That Meet Abnormally or Not at All: If your child’s teeth do not come together in a normal manner, or if there are gaps where teeth don’t meet at all, this could suggest a need for orthodontic treatment.
  • Facial Imbalance or Asymmetry: Any noticeable imbalance in the way your child's face appears, where one side does not symmetrically match the other, especially around the jawline, may require a consultation with an orthodontist.

Recognizing these signs and consulting with a children's orthodontist can lead to early intervention, which often results in more effective treatment, shorter treatment times, and fewer complications as your child grows.

Your Child's First Orthodontic Exam

The initial orthodontic exam is a crucial step in assessing your child's dental needs and planning the appropriate course of action. During this first visit, the children's orthodontist will focus on gathering information and answering key questions to determine the best treatment plan. 

Here are the five essential questions typically addressed during the exam:

Is there an orthodontic problem, and if so, what is it?

The orthodontist will begin by conducting a thorough examination of your child's teeth, bite, and jaw alignment. This includes visual inspections and possibly diagnostic imaging like X-rays or 3D scans. The goal is to identify any orthodontic issues such as crowding, misalignment, overbite, or underbite.

What are the options to correct the problem?

Depending on the identified issues, the orthodontist will outline various treatment options. These might include traditional braces, clear aligners, or other orthodontic appliances. The orthodontist will explain the pros and cons of each option, helping you and your child understand what each treatment involves and how it addresses the specific orthodontic problem.

Is there a possibility that teeth will need to be removed?

In some cases, removing one or more teeth can be necessary to achieve the best orthodontic result, especially if there is significant overcrowding that affects jaw alignment or the proper fit of the teeth. The orthodontist will discuss if extractions are recommended and why they may be beneficial as part of the treatment plan.

How long is the recommended treatment expected to take?

Treatment duration can vary widely depending on the complexity of the orthodontic problem and the type of treatment chosen. The orthodontist will provide an estimated timeline for how long the treatment is expected to last, which helps families plan for the commitment required for successful orthodontic care.

How much will the recommended treatment cost?

Finally, the orthodontist will discuss the cost of the recommended treatment. This discussion will include information about payment options, insurance coverage, and any available payment plans to help manage the financial aspect of orthodontic care.

This first exam is not only about diagnosing and planning but also about ensuring that both the parents and the child are fully informed about the orthodontic journey ahead. 

By addressing these key questions, the orthodontist helps set clear expectations and builds a foundation of trust and understanding, crucial for a successful treatment outcome.

Preparing Your Child for Orthodontic Treatment

Beginning orthodontic treatment can be a significant milestone in a child’s life. Preparing your child mentally and physically for this journey can help ease any anxieties and make the process smoother. 

Here are some tips on how to prepare your child for their time with a children's orthodontist:

  • Discuss the Process: Explain to your child what orthodontic treatment is and why it’s necessary. Use positive language to describe how the treatment will improve their dental health and the appearance of their smile.
  • Visit the Orthodontist Together: Before starting treatment, visit the orthodontist’s office together. Let your child meet the team and familiarize themselves with the environment. This can help reduce any nervousness and build comfort with the orthodontist.
  • Read Books or Watch Videos: There are many child-friendly resources that explain dental treatments. Reading a book or watching a video about visiting the orthodontist can demystify the process and help your child feel more prepared.
  • Role Play at Home: You can simulate the orthodontist visit at home. Let your child be the 'patient' while you play the role of the orthodontist. Show them how an orthodontist might ask them to open their mouth or sit still, and use a mirror to show how braces are checked.
  • Discuss Oral Hygiene: Emphasize the importance of maintaining excellent oral hygiene, especially with braces. Teach your child how to brush and floss with orthodontic appliances before the treatment starts.
  • Prepare for Comfort: Orthodontic adjustments can sometimes cause discomfort. Prepare a comfort kit that includes soft foods, pain relievers approved by your pediatrician, and ice packs. Remind your child that any discomfort is temporary and part of the journey to a healthier smile.
  • Encourage Questions: Allow your child to ask questions throughout the process and ensure they feel heard. Knowing they can talk about their concerns can greatly ease their mind.
  • Positive Reinforcement: Use positive reinforcement throughout the treatment. Praise your child for good oral hygiene and for following the orthodontist's instructions. Celebrate milestones like getting braces on or adjusted.

The Best Children's Orthodontist in Tucson, AZ

At Wilde Orthodontics, we are committed to providing exceptional orthodontic care tailored specifically for children in Tucson, AZ. 

Led by Dr. Brian Wilde, our team is equipped with the latest in orthodontic technology and treatment options. We offer a range of services designed to address various orthodontic needs, from traditional braces to more modern solutions. 

Our practice prides itself on creating a welcoming and supportive environment where your child's comfort and care are our top priorities. We understand the importance of early orthodontic evaluations and are dedicated to guiding parents and their children through every step of the treatment process, ensuring optimal results and a positive orthodontic experience.


To ensure your child receives the best orthodontic care, please schedule a consultation with Wilde Orthodontics today.

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1320 West Ina Road, Tucson, AZ 85704

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