What is the difference between early orthodontic treatment and regular orthodontic treatment, and why might my child need early treatment? How will early treatment benefit my child in the long run?

These are just a few of the questions surrounding the topic of early orthodontic treatment for children. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children see an orthodontist as early as age 7. At this age, or even younger, your child’s permanent teeth will begin to erupt, and future crowding problems can be identified at this young age. Often times no treatment is indicated. However, monitoring the eruption of your child’s permanent teeth through subsequent growth and development checks can prevent future problems.

At our first visit together we will determine if now is the time to begin orthodontic treatment, or if your child’s growth should be monitored. Before recommending early treatment, we want to make sure your child has good oral hygiene and is ready to start the orthodontic process.

The benefits of early orthodontic treatment (A Phase One)

  • Guide your child’s jaw growth
  • Lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth
  • Correct any harmful oral habits (thumb, finger, etc)
  • Screen for speech therapy
  • Screen for tongue thrusting habits
  • Guide the eruption of permanent teeth to avoid future crowding
  • Create a more pleasing arrangement of the teeth, lips, and face

Click here to see some of the most commonly treated orthodontic conditions in children.

How to tell if your child may need
early orthodontic treatment:

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth (your child should typically start losing teeth around age five, and will have all permanent teeth around age 13)
  • Difficulty chewing and/or biting
  • Mouth breathing
  • Your child continues sucking his or her thumb after age five
  • Speech impediments
  • Protruding teeth (the top teeth and the bottom teeth extend away from each other)
  • Teeth that don’t come together in a normal manner or even at all
  • Shifting of the jaw when your child opens or closes his or her mouth (crossbites)
  • Crowded front teeth around age seven or eight