Orthodontics for Young Children
An early phase of treatment may precede braces to take advantage of a child’s growing jaws. Early treatment moves jaw bones and chewing muscles into position, setting the stage for the most stable bite correction possible. This early orthopedic (or “bone”) phase of treatment may last a year or more:

  • A palatal expander gently widens a too-small upper jaw to make room for crowded teeth.
  • A habit corrector helps stop thumb sucking, tongue thrusting (a swallowing habit), or mouth breathing.
  • A functional appliance guides growing jaws into position and teaches chewing muscles to “bite right”.
  • Braces move a child’s permanent teeth into position.
  • Headgear helps realign jaws or move teeth into line.
  • A retainer helps stabilize teeth in their new positions.

Before planning treatment, Dr. Brent Porter examines a child’s teeth, jaw, jaw joints, face, and profile, and studies how they bite and swallow. The child’s dental and medical histories are taken. If the child is looking for cosmetic changes in their smile or face, our pediatric dentist will ask about the child’s specific goals for orthodontics.

X-rays and precise measurements traced over them show how the child’s bite can be corrected.

Orthodontics for Teenagers
The most common age group for orthodontics, teenagers have most of their permanent teeth and more mature jaws. Today’s braces are less noticeable than ever and won’t interfere with the active lifestyle that teenagers enjoy. Treatment may last one to three years and include a combination of appliances:

  • Braces, either tiny bonded brackets or full bands, gently move teeth into position.
  • Headgear helps realign jaws or move teeth into line.
  • A retainer holds teeth in their corrected positions until they are stabilized.
  • Extractions (removing teeth) make room for crowded teeth and may be needed for any phase of treatment

Models of your bite, used to help prepare your appliances, show how your teeth and jaws fit together.

Photos give you and Dr. Brent Porter a record of your profile, face, and teeth before treatment.

Call 831-459-9802 today if you would like to learn more about orthodontics in Santa Cruz, California, or schedule your next appointment.