Kids’ orthodontics

Kids orthodontist

Early treatment is one of the best ways to help your child’s smile last a lifetime. At Henderson Orthodontics, we want to catch your child’s bite issues as early as possible to improve their smile for years to come.

Benefits of early prevention

While the timeline will vary from child to child, your child’s first adult molars will emerge around the age of 6 or 7. These molars will help to establish your child’s backbite, which is why the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children visit a pediatric orthodontist by the age of 7. This early appointment will allow Dr. Henderson to evaluate your child’s teeth for easily treatable misalignment issues such as crossbite. If Dr. Henderson detects any issues in your child’s bite, they may undergo early (Phase 1) treatment, which can reduce your child’s need for more extensive procedures later in life by:

  • Making room in their mouth for overcrowded teeth.
  • Ensuring facial symmetry.
  • Reducing trauma from protruding front teeth.

While early treatment is an option, most cases do not require extensive treatment, and Dr. Henderson will only monitor your child’s growth patterns at each visit. This close observation allows us to keep careful records of your child’s smile and start future treatments faster for efficient results.

Our services

When children come into our office, we may only need to monitor their growth and potential issues. Our most popular treatment for children is a palate expander. A palate expander is an excellent treatment option for children because their upper jaws develop as two separate halves that fuse after puberty. A palate expander will gently widen and stabilize your child’s upper jaw over a few months to treat and prevent bite misalignment. The three dental issues that commonly require a palate expansion are crossbite, impacted teeth and overcrowding. Using a palate expander will limit the need for tooth removal later in life and improve your child’s breathing. Expanding your child’s upper jaw can also benefit your child for aesthetic purposes by straightening and broadening their smile. Each palate expander is custom-made and contains two metal halves connected in the middle with a small screw. These two halves fit over the top back teeth, and you will use a special key to turn the screw a small amount each day to create tension in the mouth. Over time this tension will cause the two bones to move apart slowly. While your child is undergoing palate expander treatment, they may experience:

  • Soreness or pressure after turning the expander key.
  • Difficulty speaking and eating normally for a short time as they adjust to the expander.
  • Increased production of saliva.

Kids braces

Kids can grow up with healthy smiles with early orthodontic treatment. At Henderson Orthodontics, we offer kids braces in Grand Prairie and Duncanville, Texas, so your child can be comfortable with their smile.

Why do kids get braces?

Kids braces can treat various developmental issues in your child’s mouth or jaw. We recommend bringing your child to our office when they turn seven years old. We can identify potential problems at this young age in case they become serious over time. We may address your child’s needs with braces if they experience any of the following:

  • Speech impediments
  • Chewing problems
  • Teeth crowding
  • Crossbite
  • Impacted teeth
  • Thumb sucking
  • Tongue thrusting
  • Mouth breathing

Why your child might need braces

The main reason we recommend braces for kids is for early intervention. If we notice an issue with your child’s spacing, bite or jaw, we can treat it before it worsens. Braces simplify future treatment and offer a minimally invasive alternative to potential surgeries. We find that some children develop orthodontic concerns because of habits like thumb sucking or poor oral hygiene, but sometimes there is more at play. Hereditary issues, teeth abnormalities or mouth injuries can also be reasons for early treatment.

Kid’s braces for teeth and jaw issues can:

Save money in the long run: Addressing issues before they worsen can prevent costly treatments in the future.

Make puberty more comfortable: Early treatment can eliminate some growing pains as your child’s body changes.

Prevent long-term issues: Early orthodontic treatment can prevent severe bite issues, gum disease or discomfort throughout your child’s life.

Our braces for kid’s teeth

Because every child’s needs are unique, so will their treatment. If your child needs braces, we may recommend traditional brackets for a specific part of the mouth or shortened period. Partial braces can treat limited areas where we see the potential for crowding, bite issues or misalignment. Some orthodontic concerns may need full braces. Traditional treatment includes braces on both rows of teeth for a full term. Once we see the proper results, we will provide a retainer to keep your child’s teeth in place.

Other available treatments

If your child has issues with jaw spacing, we may recommend alternative treatments. The most popular option for children is a palatal expander. This appliance widens the upper jaw so your child’s teeth can grow comfortably. With a few months of this gentle treatment method, your kid can avoid future bite issues or misalignment.

Two-Phase treatment

Two-phase treatment ensures your child has a straight, healthy smile. This process combines various techniques to align their teeth and bite. At Henderson Orthodontics, we offer two-phase orthodontic treatment to develop your child’s smile with long-lasting results.

The benefits of two-phase treatment

Two-phase orthodontic treatment has several advantages, including:

  • Creating a proper foundation: This method prepares your child’s mouth for further treatments. We make important adjustments while they’re young to promote healthy jaw development.
  • Correcting various issues: Two-phase treatment addresses a patient’s entire mouth. It can make more room for teeth, address crowding, straighten a crossbite or overbite and more.
  • Helping with future planning: Your orthodontist can assess your child’s teeth and predict the future treatments they may need.

The typical two-phase treatment process

This treatment consists of two action phases with a resting period in between. Each stage targets different areas to promote health in your child’s entire mouth.

Phase One

The first portion of this two-phase treatment focuses on your child’s jaw. It’s critical to address the jawbone when your child’s mouth is still developing. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends taking children to an AAO orthodontist at seven years old, which is when you can begin this treatment.

This phase ensures the patient has a healthy bite and enough room for permanent teeth to emerge. Orthodontists usually only recommend this treatment to fix moderate to severe orthodontic issues. Each case varies, but Phase One usually lasts from nine to 18 months.


Phase One treatment must happen when your child is young and their palate is still easy to move. There is often a gap between this phase and Phase Two to give the patient’s mouth a break and wait for their adult teeth to erupt.

Your orthodontist may use a retainer during the resting phase to keep your child’s teeth in place and prepare for the next stage. This period lasts until the patient’s adult teeth grow in, which could take several years.

Phase Two

Phase Two of this treatment uses braces to finish adjusting the patient’s teeth. It can address issues such as:

  • Spacing
  • Crooked teeth
  • An overbite, crossbite or underbite

Some individuals only require Phase Two treatment for a healthy smile. While this stage is recommended for kids around 11 or 12, adults can also benefit from it. Every patient’s case differs, but Phase Two normally takes 12 to 20 months for the best results.

What if you delay treatment?

Delaying two-phase treatment for your child may worsen problems and create issues that require more time and money to fix. In severe cases, the patient may need surgery to achieve the results that two-phase treatment could have provided. Early two-phase treatment is an effective way to adjust your child’s teeth and jaw.

Why choose Henderson Orthodontics?

We understand that going to the orthodontist may not be your child’s favorite thing to do after school, so we make the experience fun and personal. You and your child can feel comfortable coming to our team with any orthodontic concerns. Our individualized approach to patient care offers a gentle and effortless experience for all children.