When your kid begins to lose their baby teeth, they need more than just a visit from the Tooth Fairy. The ADA recommends your child receives their first orthodontic exam by the age of 7.
During a complimentary exam, Dr. Brad Leiker can walk you through what to expect as your child’s adult teeth continue to come in. Our headquarters in The Woodlands, TX is right next to McCullough Junior High, and we have a second location in Conroe, TX.
While Dr. Leiker has more than 20 years’ experience serving patients of all ages, he is an orthodontist with advanced training in diagnosing and treating patients as young as 6 years old. He acquired these special techniques for young children through a year-long course at Roncone Orthodontics International.
Some frequently asked questions we hear from parents are:
- Are there special orthodontists for kids?
- What is early treatment for children?
- What is the best age to get braces?
- What is the cost of orthodontic treatment?
Are there special orthodontists for kids?
Orthodontists receive training to treat patients of all ages, but certain orthodontists, like Dr. Leiker, have completed continuing education courses in caring for your child’s smile.
We also try to make it easy for you and your child to visit us with appointments available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Fridays. Our office in The Woodlands, TX is conveniently located by McCullough Junior High. You can pass the time during your child’s appointment at our refreshment bar or in our new arcade. For older children, we are one of the few certified Invisalign Teen providers in your area.
What is early treatment for children?
Early treatment for children usually calls for Two-Phase Treatment. We begin with the first phase. Through an exam, Dr. Leiker can assess the progress of your child’s adult teeth, their jaw size, and their bite (the way their teeth come together). Some signs your child might need early treatment are:
- Overcrowding of permanent teeth
- Protruding front teeth, sometimes called “buck teeth”
- An underbite, overbite, or crossbite
At this early stage, typically age 10 and under, it’s much easier to make room for all of your child’s permanent teeth to erupt versus having to extract permanent teeth when they’re older to make more room along their jaw. Dr. Leiker can also advise you in breaking your child of any bad habits that are affecting their teeth, like thumb sucking.
Then there is a resting period where your child may wear a retainer or we will simply monitor the progress of your child’s adult teeth at no cost to you. The second phase begins once your child has all of their adult teeth. This is when we will look into early braces if needed.
What is the best age to get braces?
If you feel like you’re seeing braces on younger and younger children, you’re right! While many people who were not fortunate enough to wear braces when they were younger are now seeking out treatment as adults, we are also now placing braces on a growing group of pre-teens. You’re never too old to get braces, but there are benefits to early treatment. By bringing your child in at the age of 7, Dr. Leiker is able to diagnose them earlier and get them treated sooner. So, your child will likely need less treatment and will wear their braces for a shorter window of time — no braces in your kid’s prom photos! Contemporary braces are designed to be more comfortable than the older styles you probably remember from your youth.
What is the cost of orthodontic treatment?
Every patient is different and each treatment plan is designed for a specific set of needs. So, the best thing to do is to come in for a complimentary exam and discuss your child’s treatment options with Dr. Leiker. Sometimes we find that your child is not in need of orthodontic treatment or not in need of early treatment, and we can monitor the progress of their teeth for you as they age. If they do need early treatment, this can often lessen the amount of treatment they’ll need as they get older.
As a parent, you want to do all you can to make sure your child succeeds in life, and a part of that should be screening their teeth early for orthodontic treatment. Give us a call at 832-510-6678 or use our convenient online form to schedule your child’s appointment today!