Children's Ortho

Early Orthodontic Treatment for Children

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children see an orthodontist as early as age seven. By seven, children generally have permanent first molars and incisors erupting so our doctors will be able to evaluate their bite and early treatment needs efficiently. Not all children will need early orthodontic treatment; for those kids, we will continue to monitor their growth and development every year to determine the proper time and treatment options for them. The goal of early treatment is to correct the growth of the jaw, certain bite problems and to make room for permanent teeth to come in properly. Early, or interceptive treatment, can make future treatment simpler, shorter in duration and more cost-effective

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

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth: Children generally start to lose baby teeth around age 5 and will have most of their permanent teeth by age 13.
  • Difficulty chewing and/or biting
  • Mouth breathing or snoring while sleeping
  • 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 his or her mouth, which could indicate a crossbite
  • Crowded front teeth around age seven or eight

Two-Phase orthodontic treatment for children

If at your child’s early orthodontic consultation the doctor concludes that treatment is necessary, this may involve a two-phase approach.

First phase will:

  • Enable correct biting and chewing
  • Correct harmful oral habits
  • Intercept a developing problem
  • Guide the growth of the jawbones into a more ideal position
  • Lower the risk of damage or breakage to protruding front teeth
  • Guide permanent teeth into a more favorable position
  • Improve appearance

Second phase will:

  • Move permanent teeth into their final positions
  • Correct any remaining bite problems
  • Establish long-term stability
  • Continue improving teeth function and facial appearance
  • Continue to increase child’s self-esteem