Children and Braces

About Children and Braces

Child With BracesChildren and teenagers are ideal candidates for orthodontic treatment. Because the jawbone is soft and still growing, a young patient’s smile is particularly receptive to re-alignment. In addition to enhanced esthetics, a straighter smile also offers significant health benefits including improved speech and better access for oral hygiene.

When Should You See an Orthodontist?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends a visit to the orthodontist at age 7 (or earlier if oral or facial irregularities are present). Early intervention allows Dr. Ziaja to guide the growth of the jawbone, ensuring that permanent teeth come in straight. We do this by creating more space where teeth are crowded and regulating the width of the upper and lower jaw. This helps to avoid impacted teeth and other costly and painful complications later on in life.

What Causes Misalignment?

Most orthodontic problems are inherited, but they can also be caused or exacerbated by habits (like thumb or finger sucking), a tongue thrust, airway congestion (allergies, enlarged tonsils and adenoids, sinus problems), overuse or prolonged use of pacifiers, and poor nutrition.


To determine if your child will benefit from orthodontic treatment, including growth guidance and braces, Dr. Ziaja will perform several painless diagnostic procedures. This initial phase may include panoramic X-rays, bite impressions, and computer-generated images of the head, neck and jaw. These steps also help us to decide on the best treatment option for your child.



In children, treatment can be performed two phases or only with braces depending on the severity of the problem and the kind of treatment needed.  Two phase treatment is generally not applicable for adults.

Two phase treatment is primarily used for growth guidance and to correct skeletal or growth problems that are easier to correct while a child is growing.  The first phase of treatment can include appliances to reduce crowding, correct crossbites, and assist in correcting problems with the bite.  The first phase of treatment can also include braces.  If there is not an immediate cosmetic or social concern with some misalignment, Dr. Ziaja prefers NOT to utilize braces during the first phase of treatment.  This helps reduce the total cost of treatment, reduces the risk of decalcification (staining) and decay of the teeth, and reduces the “burn out” effect of having braces during the first phase and in the second phase.  Generally speaking, the first phase will not eliminate the need for braces in the second phase.

The full treatment phase, whether or not performed with first phase treatment involves orthodontic movement of all the tell with either traditional  braces or Invisalign®.  Braces can be metal, clear ceramic, or gold colored.  Patients can a color if they desire to spice up their look.  These include colored rings put over the actual braces or colorful rubber bands.  The colors can be changed at every appointment giving patients a new and fun way to express themselves!

We are here to make your child’s orthodontic experience as comfortable and successful as possible. Please give Dr. Ziaja a call at 586-247-6453 or our contact us page for more information and to set up a FREE orthodontic examination where we can discuss how to Create the Magic of Your Smile! 

Adult reflecting on childhood orthodontic treatment from American Assoc. of Orthodontists on Vimeo.