Questions Parents Have

Today, nearly four million children in the United States and Canada are receiving treatment from members of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO). And while parents know that orthodontic treatment results in a healthy, beautiful smile, many don’t realize the important long-term health benefits.

As part of its commitment to education, the AAO provides parents with this list of answers to commonly asked questions about orthodontic care.

Why is orthodontic treatment important?

Straight teeth and properly aligned jaws contribute to good dental health as well as overall physical health. Orthodontic treatment can boost a person’s self-image as teeth, lips and jaws move into position and improve appearance.


How do parents know if their child needs orthodontic treatment?

The best way is to visit an orthodontist. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that all children get an orthodontic screening at age 7.   By this age, several permanent teeth in most children have erupted, allowing us to effectively evaluate their orthodontic condition.   Occasionally, early treatment can help avoid more difficult or extensive treatment later. 


What if my child still has baby teeth at age seven? Should they still see an orthodontist?

Yes.  By age 7, enough permanent teeth have arrived for orthodontists to evaluate how the teeth and jaws meet, and to identify current or developing problems.  If a problem is detected, the orthodontist and parents can discuss when treatment may be necessary.


What is Phase 1 and Phase II Treatment?

Phase 1, or early interceptive treatment, is limited orthodontic treatment (i.e. expander or partial braces) before all of the permanent teeth have erupted.   Such treatment usually occurs between the ages of six and ten.   This treatment is sometimes recommended to make more space for developing teeth, correction of crossbites, overbites, underbites, or harmful oral habits.   Phase II treatment is also called comprehensive treatment, because it involves full braces when all of the permanent teeth have erupted.


How often do you visit your orthodontist while in orthodontic treatment?

A: The frequency of orthodontic visits varies depending on the type of treatment, and  the treatment stage  the patient is in. Generally, with Invisalign treatment, the patient is seen  approximately every 3 months. With braces, the frequency is  about every 2 months. This can be adjusted, according to the patient  treatment needs.


What is the average cost of orthodontic treatment?

A: Fees will vary, depending on the treatment needed.  We offer convenient payment plans, making treatment more affordable than ever.  We will work with you to find a plan that fits your family budget.  In addition, many patients have dental insurance that includes orthodontic benefits. Check with your employer’s human resources department to learn about your coverage.