Children's Orthodontist in Fort Walton Beach, FL

March 28, 2024

Finding the right orthodontist for your child can feel like a daunting task, especially when you're looking for someone who not only has the expertise in aligning those tiny teeth but also possesses the patience and care to deal with young patients. 

Orthodontic treatment for children goes beyond just straightening teeth; it's about laying the foundation for a lifetime of healthy smiles. 

With advancements in dental technology and an increased understanding of early orthodontic intervention, parents are now more equipped than ever to make informed decisions about their child's oral health. 

From traditional braces to more invisible options, there's a wide range of treatments available to suit every need and lifestyle. In this journey towards achieving the perfect smile for your little one, selecting a specialized children's orthodontist becomes a critical step. 

As a board-certified orthodontist, Dr. Morgan Zwickel, is not only trained to address dental irregularities but also to handle the unique challenges that come with treating younger patients. This ensures that your child's experience with orthodontic care is not only effective but also positive and anxiety-free.

Understanding Children's Orthodontics?

Children's orthodontics is a specialized field focusing on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities in young patients. 

Early intervention in orthodontics can play a crucial role in preventing future dental issues, making it easier to treat certain conditions that, if left untreated, could become more complicated over time. 

A children's orthodontist is equipped with the knowledge and tools to assess the growth patterns of a child's jaw and teeth, recommending the best course of action to ensure healthy development. 

Treatments may include the use of braces or clear aligners to guide teeth into their proper positions, space maintainers to keep the correct spacing for erupting teeth, or palatal expanders to widen the upper jaw. 

By focusing on these young patients, children's orthodontists help lay the foundation for a lifetime of healthy smiles, emphasizing preventive care and the early correction of orthodontic issues.

Signs Your Child May Need an Orthodontist

Identifying the need for orthodontic evaluation in children can be subtle, yet recognizing these signs early on can significantly impact the effectiveness and duration of treatment. 

As a children's orthodontist, Dr. Morgan Zwickel, is trained to spot and address issues that, if left unchecked, could lead to more complex dental problems. 

Here are key indicators that your child might need to see an orthodontist:

  • When Your Child Reaches Age 7: The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children have their first orthodontic evaluation by the age of 7. This early assessment allows for the identification of potential issues that may be easier to address while the child's jaw and teeth are still developing.
  • Irregular Loss of Baby Teeth: Either premature or delayed loss of baby teeth can signal underlying orthodontic issues, necessitating a visit to a children's orthodontist for an assessment.
  • Difficulty in Chewing or Biting: If your child struggles or shows discomfort while chewing or biting, this could be a sign of misalignment issues that require professional attention.
  • Crowded or Misplaced Teeth: Visible crowding or misplacement of teeth, especially as new permanent teeth emerge, can indicate the need for orthodontic intervention to prevent more severe alignment problems.
  • Jaw Misalignment: Any noticeable misalignment of the jaw, such as shifting or noises when the jaw moves, can suggest the need for orthodontic evaluation to correct potential bite issues and asymmetrical jaw growth.
  • Breathing Through the Mouth: Regular mouth breathing can be a sign of blocked nasal passages or jaw structure issues, which a children's orthodontist can help address. 
  • Thumb-Sucking Beyond Early Childhood: Continuing to suck thumbs or fingers past the age of five can influence the development of the mouth and teeth alignment, warranting a consultation with an orthodontist.
  • Overbite or Underbite: An apparent overbite or underbite, where the upper or lower teeth significantly overlap, indicates a need for corrective orthodontic treatment.

Recognizing these signs and consulting with a children's orthodontist can lead to timely and effective treatment, ensuring your child's oral health and well-being. 

Early intervention is key to correcting dental issues and promoting a healthy smile that lasts a lifetime.

Common Orthodontic Treatments for Children

When it comes to enhancing your child's smile and oral health, a children's orthodontist has a range of treatments at their disposal, each designed to address specific issues. 

The goal of these treatments is not only to improve the aesthetic appearance of the smile but also to correct functional problems that could affect the child's ability to eat, speak, and maintain oral hygiene. Addressing these orthodontic issues early can help prevent future complications. 

Here are some of the most common orthodontic treatments for children:

Traditional Metal Braces

The most widely recognized form of orthodontic treatment, traditional metal braces consist of brackets attached to the teeth, connected by wires. They are highly effective at correcting a wide range of alignment and spacing issues.

Ceramic Braces

Similar to metal braces in function but more discreet, ceramic braces have tooth-colored or clear brackets that blend in with the teeth, making them a less noticeable option.

Clear Aligners

A series of custom-made, removable aligners that gradually move teeth into their correct positions. Clear aligners, such as Invisalign, are popular for their invisibility and convenience, especially for mild to moderate cases.

Palatal Expanders

Used to widen the upper jaw when it is too narrow, palatal expanders can create space for crowded teeth and improve the fit of the upper and lower jaws.

Space Maintainers

If a child loses a baby tooth early, a space maintainer can keep the space open until the permanent tooth is ready to erupt. This prevents neighboring teeth from shifting into the space and causing alignment problems.


After the active phase of orthodontic treatment, retainers are used to hold teeth in their new positions. They are crucial for preventing teeth from gradually shifting back towards their original positions.

Each of these treatments can be tailored to meet the unique needs of the child, ensuring the best possible outcome for their dental health and smile aesthetics. 

A children's orthodontist will work closely with the child and their family to select the most appropriate treatment based on the child's age, the severity of their dental issues, and their lifestyle.

What to Expect During Your First Visit 

The initial visit to a children's orthodontist is a critical step in your child's orthodontic journey, designed to set the foundation for future treatment and care. Understanding what to expect during this visit can help ease any anxiety and prepare both you and your child for the process. Here's a breakdown of what typically happens:

Comprehensive Evaluation: The visit starts with a thorough examination of your child's mouth, teeth, and jaw to assess the current orthodontic needs. This evaluation often includes digital X-rays or 3D imaging to get a detailed view of the teeth's positions and any underlying issues with the jaw or bite.

Discussion of Dental History: The orthodontist will review your child's dental and medical history, including any habits like thumb-sucking or prolonged use of a pacifier that could affect teeth alignment and jaw development.

Diagnosis and Treatment Planning: Based on the examination and history, the children's orthodontist will diagnose any orthodontic issues and discuss potential treatment options. This plan will be tailored to your child's specific needs, considering both the effectiveness of the treatment and the comfort of your child.

Q&A Session: This is your opportunity to ask questions and express any concerns you might have. A good children's orthodontist will take the time to provide detailed explanations and ensure you understand the proposed treatment plan.

Financial Consultation: Most orthodontic offices provide a financial consultation to discuss the cost of treatment, insurance options, and payment plans. This session helps you understand the investment involved and how to manage it best.

This first visit aims to build trust and rapport between your child, you, and the orthodontic team, ensuring a comfortable and clear path forward. It's about laying the groundwork for a successful treatment journey that leads to a healthy, beautiful smile for your child.

Choosing the Right Orthodontist in Fort Walton Beach, FL

When it comes to your child's smile, selecting the right children's orthodontist is paramount. In Fort Walton Beach, FL, parents have the unique opportunity to provide their children with the highest quality of orthodontic care. 

At Sandy Smiles Orthodontics, Dr. Morgan Zwickel prides herself on offering the best orthodontic treatment for children, ensuring that each visit is not just about straightening teeth but nurturing healthy, confident smiles that last a lifetime.

Understanding the specific needs of children's developing teeth and jaws, Dr. Morgan Zwickel and her team use the latest techniques and technologies to address a wide range of dental issues. 

From the early loss of baby teeth to the complexities of jaw development, our expertise allows us to craft personalized treatment plans that cater to the individual needs of each young patient.

Moreover, our commitment to excellence in children's orthodontics extends beyond Fort Walton Beach, FL. We are delighted to also serve the community of DeFuniak Springs, FL, bringing our top-tier orthodontic services closer to your doorstep. 

Whether it's your child's first orthodontic visit or you're seeking a comprehensive treatment plan, our team is dedicated to making the experience as comfortable, informative, and effective as possible.

Don't wait to give your child the smile they deserve. Schedule your child's first assessment with Sandy Smiles Orthodontics today.


Get in Touch!

(850) 244-3880

Fort Walton Beach, FL
824 Eglin Parkway NE

(850) 244-3880

DeFuniak Springs, FL
746 Baldwin Ave.

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