Pediatric Orthodontist in Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, & Utah

Pediatric orthodontics plays a vital role in ensuring the long-term oral health of children. By identifying and addressing dental issues early, specialists can guide jaw growth, correct bite problems, and improve smile aesthetics, setting the stage for healthy adult teeth.

Why Pediatric Orthodontics?

Early orthodontic evaluation is crucial as it allows orthodontists to detect and address potential dental issues in children at a stage when the jaw bones are still growing. This proactive approach can significantly influence a child’s oral development and general well-being. Early assessments help prevent the development of more severe complications that could require more invasive treatments later.

Benefits of Early Intervention

Early intervention in pediatric orthodontics can correct improper bites, prevent misalignment of teeth, and improve overall oral function. By guiding the development of the jaw and teeth, orthodontists ensure that children are less likely to experience dental overcrowding, misaligned teeth, and incorrect jaw development. This not only enhances the child’s smile but also their ability to chew and speak properly.

Common Pediatric Orthodontic Treatments

Pediatric orthodontics includes a variety of treatments designed to address and correct different dental issues from a young age. The most commonly used treatments include:


The most traditional method for correcting teeth alignment through brackets and wires that apply pressure to the teeth, gradually moving them into the desired position.


Used to widen the upper jaw to eliminate crowding and crossbites, ensuring there is enough space for adult teeth to emerge correctly.

Space Maintainers

Employed when a child loses a tooth prematurely. These devices keep the space open to allow the permanent tooth to erupt and come into place properly.

Purpose and Benefits of Pediatric Orthodontic Treatments

Each pediatric orthodontic treatment serves a specific purpose:

  • Braces not only straighten teeth but also help in correcting bite issues, which can improve oral health and aesthetics.
  • Expanders aid in creating a more proportional and functional jaw alignment, which facilitates better breathing, chewing, and speaking.
  • Space Maintainers ensure the long-term alignment of teeth by preventing other teeth from shifting into spaces meant for future adult teeth, thereby maintaining the integrity of a child’s bite and jaw structure.

Through these treatments, pediatric orthodontists can effectively manage and guide the development of a child’s oral structure, leading to improved health and confidence.

When to Visit a Pediatric Orthodontist

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that a child’s first visit to an orthodontist occur by the age of seven. This early evaluation allows the orthodontist to detect any issues with jaw growth and emerging teeth while the primary (baby) teeth are still present.

Signs and Symptoms for Early Assessment

Parents should look for certain signs that might necessitate an earlier visit to a pediatric orthodontist:

  1. Early or late loss of baby teeth which can indicate developmental issues.
  2. Difficulty in chewing or biting which might suggest misalignment.
  3. Breathing through the mouth consistently.
  4. Thumb sucking beyond age five which can affect the development of the mouth and jaw.
  5. Crowded, misplaced, or blocked-out teeth which can be visible as early as six years old.
  6. Jaws that shift or make sounds which could signal joint problems.

Choosing the Right Pediatric Orthodontist

Finding the right pediatric orthodontist involves more than just looking for someone who is qualified. Parents should consider:
  • Specialized Training: Ensure the orthodontist has specialized training in pediatric orthodontics.
  • Experience: Look for an orthodontist with extensive experience treating children, as they will be more familiar with the unique challenges and needs of younger patients.

Creating a Positive Environment

The atmosphere of the orthodontic office is also crucial. A child-friendly environment can make visits less intimidating and more enjoyable for children. Additionally, consider the orthodontist’s approach to patient care:

  • Child-Friendly Communication: The best pediatric orthodontists know how to communicate effectively with children, explaining procedures in a way that is easy for them to understand without causing fear.
  • Positive Rapport: Choose an orthodontist who can build a good rapport with children, making them feel safe and comfortable during their visits. This relationship is key to ensuring that the child feels secure and that the treatment process is as smooth as possible.

Selecting the right pediatric orthodontist not only ensures that your child will receive the best possible care but also contributes to a positive overall experience that could influence how they view dental health as they grow.

Differences Between Adult and Pediatric Orthodontics

Orthodontics plays a crucial role in maintaining oral health and achieving functional, aesthetic alignment of the teeth and jaws. However, the approach and techniques differ significantly between adults and children. Understanding these differences can help patients and families make informed decisions about seeking appropriate orthodontic care.

Developmental Considerations

Pediatric orthodontics leverages the fact that a child’s jaw and facial bones are still growing. This allows orthodontists to guide and influence jaw development proactively, correcting potential alignment issues more effectively and often more quickly than in adults. In contrast, adult orthodontics deals with fully developed bones, which may require more intensive interventions, including surgery, for similar adjustments.

Appliance Options

Children often use more visible appliances like traditional metal braces because they are cost-effective and durable. Since adults may be more conscious about the aesthetics, they tend to prefer less visible options such as ceramic braces or clear aligners like Invisalign. Moreover, the range of appliances needs to be broader for children to accommodate the ongoing changes in their growing mouths.

Treatment Objectives

For children, the focus is often on interception and prevention. Pediatric orthodontists aim to address developmental anomalies early to prevent them from developing into more complex problems. Adults seek orthodontic treatment primarily for corrective reasons—to adjust misalignments and resolve spacing issues that were not treated in childhood or have developed over time.

Treatment Duration

Flexibility and Timing: Children’s treatments might last several years, especially if they are begun early and are staged to work in conjunction with their development. Adults may face longer treatment times due to the slower nature of moving teeth within mature bones, or they may opt for accelerated options if suitable.

Pediatric Orthodontic Care in the Southwest

Is your child ready for their first orthodontic evaluation, or do you have concerns about their dental development? Our team of experienced pediatric orthodontists across Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah is here to provide comprehensive and compassionate care.

Book a consultation today to ensure your child’s smile is healthy and bright for the future. Our friendly staff is ready to assist you with scheduling an appointment and answering any questions you might have. Let us take care of your child’s orthodontic needs with expertise and kindness.