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Orthodontics for Kids & Teens

The majority of patients undergoing orthodontic care are children and teens. When kids are young, their jaws are constantly growing to accommodate new teeth. It is during this time that the teeth are easily moved, allowing for a shorter treatment time – especially in patients who undergo early treatment. Braces, retainers, and spacers are just some of the orthodontic appliances commonly used in children’s orthodontics. Although not all kids need orthodontic treatment, all kids need exams at an early age. Some signs that a child may eventually require orthodontic treatment include:

  • Jaw is disproportionate to the face
  • Has a habit of frequent thumb-sucking
  • Chronically breathes from the mouth rather than the nose
  • Primary teeth fall out too soon or too late
  • Exhibits malocclusion (overbite/underbite)
  • Visible crowding

Did you know?

that children should have their first orthodontic screening no later than age 7? This orthodontic evaluation is used to identify jaw irregularities and developmental complications that could indicate the need for orthodontic treatment in the future. Early screenings make it possible to get early treatment, with some children beginning progressive orthodontic treatments as early as age 7.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to bring my child to an orthodontist?

If your child is at least 7 years old or is exhibiting any of the symptoms listed above, you should schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Your child’s orthodontist can take steps to correct a bad bite, fill in gaps, and straighten the teeth all before your child reaches the teen years.

What should I expect at my child’s first orthodontist appointment?

Your child’s first orthodontic screening will include a visual examination as well as maxillofacial x-rays. Your child’s orthodontist may also ask you questions about your child’s habits, such as thumb and finger-sucking. Based on the results of this analysis, the orthodontist will discuss options and timeframes for treatment if applicable.

Will I need to follow any special instructions if my child is fitted for a dental appliance?

Yes. If your child is fitted for a fixed orthodontic appliance, such as braces, you will need to follow careful instructions to ensure the device is not damaged or broken. This includes monitoring your child’s diet to ensure it does not include hard foods, candies, popcorn kernels, or anything else that could cause damage. You’ll also need to ensure your child properly brushings and flosses around the appliance to protect the teeth from decay during treatment.

Dr. Bemis

Dr. Bemis was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana but was raised predominantly in El Paso, Texas. Upon graduating Valedictorian of Andress High School in 2005, she attended the University of Texas at El Paso and completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Texas at Austin in 2010, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutritional Sciences. Dr. Bemis then studied at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio to earn her degree of Doctor of Dental Surgery. She graduated in 2015 as Valedictorian and earned numerous honors including the prestigious Kramer Award and was inducted into the Omicron Kappa Upsilon Dental Honor Society.

Dr. Bemis’s passion is in helping others and truly caring about the patients that she is blessed to treat. She strives to provide the highest quality of care while staying up to date on all of the current technology and training.Outside of the office, she also enjoys being outdoors, running, traveling, cheering on the Longhorns, and spending quality time with her family and friends