Kids’ Orthodontic Services in Memphis

Kids’ Orthodontic Services in Memphis

Braces have typically been seen as a rite of passage during adolescence, ideally resulting in a smile your child can’t wait to show off. But did you know that the ideal age for your child to have a free orthodontic consultation is between the ages of 7-8? That’s when the first permanent molars, called lateral incisors, usually erupt.

Early intervention allows your orthodontist to harness the natural growth of your child’s teeth and jaw and guide them into the best alignment for adulthood. A “wait and see” approach doesn’t mean that your child’s smile can’t be corrected. However, you may miss the optimal window for orthodontic treatment.

What is Two-Phase Orthodontic Treatment?

Dr. Piper has more than 35 years of providing kids orthodontic services in Memphis and based on his experience typically proposes a two-phase orthodontic treatment for young children. They will wear braces for about a year in elementary school, and then again in middle school, depending on their growth pattern. In the first phase, the orthodontist will apply brackets and a titanium wire to bring emerging permanent teeth down correctly. After 12 to 18 months, the doctor will remove the braces for a few years while he monitors the child’s growth periodically. Just before the adolescent growth spurt, Dr. Piper will introduce the second phase of the treatment plan, when he applies new braces which place the teeth in their permanent position for adulthood.

We will work with you and your child to help care for your braces during treatment and answer any questions you have along the way.

The final and critical phase of any treatment is retention, when Dr. Piper and the patient work together to retain the ideal result. We custom fit each patient for retainers, which we make in-house. The patient will wear them 23 hours a day at first, and eventually graduate to overnight wear only. This ensures that the smile we’ve worked on together is picture perfect well into adulthood.

When (and why) should my kids get braces?

Apart from age, here are other tell-tale signs that may help you know it’s time for braces:

1. Overcrowded teeth. When your child has a tooth coming in at an angle or behind another tooth this indicates that there may not be enough room for their permanent teeth. These issues do not generally correct themselves and should be addressed by an orthodontist.

2. Spacing concerns. Crowded teeth aren’t the only concern parents have when it comes to their child’s smile. If you see large gaps between teeth orthodontic treatment can be used to guide the growth depending on the child’s age. If the patient is older other interventions may be necessary.

3. Obscured or protruding teeth. If the teeth stick out excessively or the front teeth are obscured by the bottom teeth this may suggest a problem with jaw alignment.

How long a child will need to wear braces depends on the severity and complexity of their malocclusion, or poor bite. If the patient has bite problems, as well as crowding and spacing issues, treatment may take two years. However if there are solely crowding and/or spacing concerns and no bite problems, your child may only be required to wear braces for 12 to 18 months.

What is orthodontic therapy with extractions?

Sometimes braces for kids work better in conjunction with extraction (removal of certain teeth). If the dental malocclusion is significant and most of the patient’s growth has taken place, orthodontic therapy with the extraction of permanent teeth may be recommended.

Why should I see an orthodontist in Memphis?

Orthodontists receive the same initial training as dentists. However they complete up to three years of additional training in tooth movement and jaw/facial development. While pediatricians and dentists may have an opinion about whether your child needs braces, only an orthodontist can accurately diagnose and prescribe treatment to correct smile and bite problems.

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children are evaluated by an orthodontist no later than age seven.

Today there are countless products and services advertised as “quick fixes” for straightening your child’s teeth. However there are no shortcuts when it comes to orthodontics. There isn’t a product on the market today that works more reliably and precisely as traditional bracket and wire braces. Smile and bite correction takes time and patience and should always be supervised by an orthodontist in Memphis who can address issues and be available for emergency care as needed.

How long do appointments take?

Once your child’s braces are applied, he or she will visit the office for regular appointments and adjustments about every 4-6 weeks. We always aim to see patients on time and those appointments take about 15 minutes. Over the course of his/her treatment your child will have about 18-20 check-ups.

For more information on the braces process and appointment length check out our video, “How long do appointments take?

Call for a Free Orthodontic Consultation

With a career dedicated to being the best children’s orthodontist in Memphis, Dr. Piper is committed to correcting conditions that interfere with both the function of the teeth and the aesthetics of you or your child’s smile. Orthodontic options might include traditional braces, retainers, or clear aligners.

With locations in Midtown Memphis and East Memphis, Dr. Piper’s offices are convenient and he understands the importance of the after-school appointment and makes every effort to accommodate families on tight schedules.

If your child is seven or beyond don’t wait another day to schedule their free orthodontic evaluation.

While we are incredibly proud to offer kids orthodontic services in Memphis, parents deserve a healthy, beautiful smile too. Braces for adults are well within Dr. Piper’s range of specialty.


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