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Will Your Child Need Advanced Orthodontic Care?

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young girl with braces

Every single child’s smile is unique, and because of this, no two orthodontic treatments are the same as well. They can range from being simple to complex, and if you’re a parent with a child who might need braces or Invisalign, you likely want to know where their treatment will be on this spectrum. While only their orthodontist can make this distinction, here are a few factors that can determine how complicated your child’s care will be.

The Degree of Crookedness/Crowding/Rotation

If your child only has a few teeth that slightly overlap, then their treatment should be pretty straightforward and not take too much time. But, if their teeth are extremely crooked, with some being rotated to the point that they are practically sideways, then this will make their treatment much more complicated. This is because the teeth need to move more, plus the orthodontist has to coordinate the treatment so that the teeth generally reach their final positions around the same time.

Bite Problems

Orthodontic treatment can be used to correct problems that involve individual teeth, several teeth, and even the entire bite. Issues like overbite, underbite, crossbite, and open bite can affect a child’s smile and oral function just as much or even more than general crookedness. Usually, fixing bite problems is more complicated because the goal is to move the teeth in a way that makes them line up with each other as well as the jaw joints when the mouth is closed.

Jaw Development

Sometimes, the root source of an orthodontic problem isn’t the teeth, but rather one or both of the jawbones. Due to various factors, one jawbone can sometimes grow much slower compared to the other, leading to an imbalance in the bite. Just moving the teeth isn’t enough to address this type of issue. Often, this is when headgear is recommended, as it can encourage a jawbone to grow in a way that helps the teeth come together properly. This type of treatment is often applied in tandem with traditional orthodontics so that in the end, a child’s teeth and bite are both perfectly healthy and functional.


In most situations, having a child undergo orthodontic treatment starting at an early age is easier than waiting until they are a teen or adult. That’s because a younger child’s mouth and teeth tend to respond faster to treatment because they are growing and changing so quickly at this stage. Over time, the bones in the face and jaw become thicker and more set. This means they don’t shift as readily in response to braces or Invisalign. Plus, orthodontic issues can become more complicated over time without treatment. This is why the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children receive an orthodontic screening around age seven, ensuring that any problems can be handled before they become too advanced.

Whether your child ends up needing simple or complicated orthodontic treatment, the end result will be a perfectly healthy, functional, and attractive smile, meaning the destination will certainly be worth the journey!

About the Author

Dr. Jeffrey Shirck is a board-certified orthodontist who has been helping patients of all ages in the Columbus area for over a decade. If you’re interested to learn what your child’s orthodontic treatment will be like, then he invites you to schedule a FREE in-person consultation at Shirck Orthodontics. During this, we’ll examine your child and answer all of your questions so you know what to expect. You can book this visit by clicking here.