Why Your Child Should See An Orthodontist By Age 7

Not so long ago, braces were seen as a kind of rite of passage for tweens and teens. These days, however, patients of all ages are benefiting from orthodontic treatment, including kids. In fact, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children receive an evaluation by about the age of 7! 

Why? There’s usually a good mix of primary and permanent teeth present by this time, offering a glimpse at any current or potential orthodontic issues. We can use this to our advantage! Correcting or improving these problems in the early stages can simplify or even eliminate future treatment. To learn more about the benefits of early orthodontic evaluations, keep reading below. 

Early childhood evaluations with Icon Orthodontics

When you schedule a complimentary consultation for your child with our Surprise or Glendale office, we have two skilled orthodontists on hand to assess the development of their smile. Dr. Sarpotdar or Dr. Sun will examine your child’s mouth, looking at their bite, jaw growth, oral habits, and the eruption of their permanent teeth to determine if early treatment is recommended. 

Even if immediate treatment isn’t necessary, these evaluations are still valuable! 

Most children will develop all their permanent teeth between the ages of 11 and 13. By the end of their teen years, the jaw bone hardens and stops growing. Orthodontic treatment after this point can take more time and involve more serious measures like tooth extraction or oral surgery. 

Early treatment can help patients avoid invasive procedures like these. If additional work is needed in their teen or adult years, the total treatment time may be significantly reduced. This proactive approach makes comprehensive treatment faster and more effective, and also gives children the benefit of a healthier smile as they grow! Let’s take a look at some of the common issues our doctors will be looking for when you schedule an orthodontic evaluation for your child. 

Tooth loss and eruption

Baby teeth usually fall out in a fairly specific order. If your child deviates from this pattern, it may signal a developmental issue that needs our attention. By the age of seven, most children will have at least four permanent molars and two to four permanent incisors. If your child has more or less than this, it could be due to missing, crowded, or extra teeth.

Problems with crowding or spacing

By the time a child is seven, their first adult molars are coming in, which helps establish the back bite. This allows an orthodontist to assess it front-to-back and side-to-side, identifying any problems with excessive crowding or spacing. These may include premature tooth loss, teeth that are too small, and those that are spaced too close or too far apart.

Misaligned teeth and jaws

Crooked teeth are more difficult to clean, increasing a child’s chances of developing cavities and tooth decay. They’re also susceptible to uneven damage and wear, which may compromise the shape and position of the surrounding gum tissue. In addition, these misalignments can cause discomfort, headaches, and a variety of other symptoms.


Front teeth that noticeably protrude are often seen as a cosmetic concern, but they can also increase the risk of injury to a child’s permanent teeth and may even affect how they speak. Although we can’t permanently correct an overbite until the child’s mouth has finished growing, we can help reduce the severity of the issue in the meantime. 


With an underbite, the lower jaw grows too far forward. This can develop due to problems with either the teeth or jaws. As with an overbite, we’ll usually need to wait until the patient has finished growing to permanently correct the problem. That being said, early treatment can still prevent bite shifting or damage to the front teeth! Children who receive early treatment for an underbite tend to be much less likely to need jaw surgery when they get older.

Posterior crossbite

A posterior crossbite can lead to crowding or cause the jaw to shift to one side. Some crossbites can also cause asymmetrical growth of the lower jaw, leading to permanent facial deformities if not corrected at a younger age. In cases like these, we do not recommend waiting until all the permanent teeth have emerged to begin treatment.

Anterior open bites and deep bites

A deep bite can indicate a small lower jaw, with the child’s top teeth covering the bottom ones when biting. With an open bite, the overall bite doesn’t overlap enough. The latter can be caused by destructive oral habits like extended thumb sucking, bottle feeding, or pacifier use. Our team is happy to work with parents to help eliminate these types of habits early on, allowing the child’s dental development to continue normally.

Get your child’s smile off to a great start with Icon Orthodontics

If you have a child around seven years of age, this is the perfect time to schedule their first orthodontic evaluation! Setting up regular visits with an orthodontist now can save them extra visits in the future, and if any problems are present, we can get a head start on treating them. 

The team here at Icon Orthodontics is skilled, caring, and eager to help your child achieve their best smile. Our extensive experience working with children ensures young patients feel comfortable during their first visit to our Surprise or Glendale office—and at every visit after that, too! Get in touch today to schedule your child’s FREE consultation and take the first step towards a lifetime of healthy smiles. 

Recognizing And Treating Your Child's Misaligned Jaw

Recognizing And Treating Your Child’s Misaligned Jaw

If your child has been showing signs of jaw pain lately, you may be feeling concerned. Whether you’ve noticed them rubbing their jaw or enjoying their meals a lot less than usual, seeing your child hurting is never easy. Jaw pain is fairly common in both children and adults, and in younger kids, it’s often related to a misaligned bite. The technical term for this is malocclusion, and the good news is, it can be corrected! The expert team here at Icon Orthodontics can identify and treat your child’s jaw pain, leaving them with an aligned bite and healthy smile! Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about recognizing and treating your child’s misaligned jaw!

How does a misaligned bite cause jaw pain?

Most kids have a pretty big appetite and love to chow down on their favorite foods. Every time they eat, they use their jaws, which are extremely strong muscles. In fact, chewing can generate up to several hundred pounds of force per square inch! If a child has a misalignment, those powerful jaw muscles won’t be able to bite down evenly. This can create an imbalance or place significant pressure on certain teeth. 

In an attempt to correct this, the jaw muscles will often overcompensate. Over time, this can lead to soreness in the child’s jaw. Severe jaw pain can have a knock-on effect. Not only does it make eating uncomfortable, but it can also interfere with the child’s speech, breathing, and sleeping. The joint where the upper and lower jaw meets is complex, so improper functioning can lead to chronic pain in some children, even when their jaw isn’t moving. 

Think about it this way: if you wore a sandal on one foot and a high heel on the other, your back and legs would not be happy with you at the end of the day! That misaligned balance would cause aches and pains even after you took your shoes off. A bad bite works similarly, except there’s no shoe to remove. That means suffering with these symptoms every day or finding a way to treat the problem.  

Recognizing And Treating Your Child's Misaligned JawWhat causes a misaligned bite? How can it be treated?

There are several reasons your child might develop a malocclusion. Bad bites or crooked teeth are often the result of genetics, but this can also occur with:

  • mouths that are too small for their teeth
  • upper jaw and lower jaws that are different sizes
  • the early loss of baby teeth
  • jaw injuries
  • extended thumb sucking or pacifier use 
  • prolonged use of a bottle 
  • tongue thrusting

While you may not always be able to prevent a misaligned bite, there are steps you can take to correct it! Because every child’s smile is unique, there is no one-size-fits-all treatment plan. When you schedule an evaluation for your child with our Surprise or Glendale office, one of our doctors will perform an oral examination and assess your child’s teeth and jaw. 

If treatment is required, we’ll create a customized treatment plan based on your child’s specific needs. This may include the use of one or more orthodontic appliances, something we’ll discuss with you in detail during their visit. Some of the most common treatment options include the following. 


Braces tend to be the most common way to correct a malocclusion. Our practice offers a range of braces, including:

  • Damon metal braces
  • Damon clear braces
  • INBRACE lingual braces

With braces treatment, brackets are affixed to the front or back of the teeth and connected with a flexible wire. The wire is regularly tightened throughout the treatment process, slowly moving the teeth and jaw into more optimal positions. We may also use elastic bands to apply pressure that will achieve better alignment. Once treatment is complete, we’ll provide the patient with a retainer that will help keep their new smile in place.   

Upper jaw expander

Upper jaw expanders are an orthodontic appliance we can use to correct an underbite. The wire-frame device fits across the upper palate, and a special key is used to widen the expander a very small amount each night. Over time, this will widen the upper jaw and bring the bite into alignment.  

Jaw surgery

In rare instances, jaw surgery may be required to correct a misaligned bite, although this is typically reserved for patients who are struggling to perform everyday functions like eating, sleeping, and speaking. Thankfully, we can usually correct alignment issues in children before they get serious enough to need surgery. 

What are the benefits of correcting a misaligned bite?

Correcting a misaligned bite can relieve jaw pain, but there are other benefits to consider as well! Your child’s teeth will be easier to clean, which reduces the risk of developing tooth decay and cavities. They’ll be less likely to chip their teeth or lose them prematurely, and they’ll be able to speak with more clarity. Appropriate treatment will help increase your child’s self-confidence and give them a smile they’ll be proud to share with everyone around them! 


Recognizing And Treating Your Child's Misaligned JawFind your child’s best smile at Icon Orthodontics

Correcting your child’s misaligned bite is an important investment, and one they will reap the rewards of for years to come. With a variety of effective and affordable treatment options available, it’s never been easier to get your child’s smile off to a great start! Our goal here at Icon Orthodontics is to improve your child’s oral health, align their bite, and enhance their self-confidence. Our treatment options can do all three! To learn more about correcting misalignments and achieving a healthier smile for your child, get in touch today to schedule a FREE consultation with our Surprise or Glendale office.

How to Take Care of Your Retainer

Wrapping up your orthodontic treatment is an exciting time! Your hard work is rewarded with a beautiful smile. However, the work doesn’t end here. It is crucial that you continue to take great care of your teeth in order to maintain your new smile. This includes wearing your retainer, which allows your smile to last a lifetime. Keep reading for some advice on retainers from Dr. Andrew Sarpotdar and Dr. Jenny Sun at Icon Orthodontics.

Retainers hold your teeth in their new positions while bone tissue rebuilds around them, stabilizing them. This process takes time, and it is important that you continue to wear your retainer after this process has been completed. Your bite can change over time as bone continues to break down and rebuild. Wearing your retainer will help preserve your smile throughout this process.

Additionally, your orthodontist may have given you a removable or permanent retainer. Removable retainers can be put in and taken out. Permanent retainers are placed and removed by your orthodontist. Each is a custom-fitted wire that is bonded to the tongue-side of your teeth. Your orthodontist will pick the retainer that works best for your teeth.

It is important that you take good care of your retainer once it is in your possession. Here are some good rules to follow:

  • Always carry a retainer case with you – when your removable retainer is not in your mouth, put it in its case.
  • Never wrap your retainer in a napkin – it’s too easy to throw away.
  • Keep your retainer out of the reach of pets – animals don’t realize a retainer isn’t a chew toy.
  • Avoid heat – your retainer can become deformed if it’s left on a heater, a hot stove, or in a hot car.
  • Keep your retainer clean – your orthodontist will give you instructions about this

Now that your treatment is completed and you have your retainer, it is up to you to keep your smile healthy and beautiful. If your retainer gets broken or lost, contact your orthodontist immediately. Feel free to contact our office with any questions about retainers or orthodontic treatment.

Can My Bite Change?

As we go through life, we are in a constant state of change. We age each year, and with that, it is totally normal for our bodies to change too. This includes your teeth as well. Just as the seasons change, you can expect your teeth and bite to change over time. Continue reading for some advice from Dr. Andrew Sarpotdar and Dr. Jenny Sun at Icon Orthodontics about how your bite can change over time.

Teeth are set in bone. Bone is a living tissue, thus it is in a constant state of change. Bone cells are broken down and rebuilt overtime. For bone in the jaws, this is caused by biting, chewing, swallowing and speaking. These actions place force on the teeth which can cause the bones to move and shift. Fortunately, it is a malleability of bones that allows orthodontic treatment to be possible and effective.

Have you noticed a change in your bite? If so, don’t fret, as this is very normal. However, if you have noticed a change, the best place to start is with an orthodontist. Orthodontist’s receive highly specialized training and education in correcting changing bites. They can examine you and help you find the best course of action to treat your changed bite. If your bite is changing, be sure to contact an orthodontist as soon as possible. You can schedule an appointment by contacting our office.

Your First Visit To Icon Orthodontics

Welcome to Icon Orthodontics! Our family-run practice is proud to create exceptional smiles for patients throughout Maricopa County. We appreciate your trust in us and want you to feel comfortable in our care throughout the orthodontic process. That begins with helping you understand what to expect from your first visit to Icon Orthodontics! Many patients are nervous about this first visit, but being prepared can help you feel more confident. Keep reading below to learn more about what your consultation will include!

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The Connection Between Athletes & Poor Oral Health

Athletes are typically praised for their high level of wellness and health. However, did you know athletes tend to have more teeth-related issues than most? A recent study found that untreated tooth decay and gum inflammation was still prevalent among elite athletes despite regular brushing and flossing. Keep reading for some athlete related dental advice from Dr. Sarpotdar and Dr. Sun at Icon Orthodontics.

Some athletes’ tooth related issues stem from the consumption of high-acid drinks, gels and energy bars. These all can weaken tooth enamel and damage teeth due to high sugar content and acidity. Studies have shown that nearly half of elite endurance athletes had untreated tooth decay, and the majority of them had early signs of gum inflammation. This is despite these athletes otherwise having good oral hygiene habits.

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