Early Orthodontics

Girl putting on a retainer

The American Association for Orthodontists recommends that every child have an orthodontic evaluation by the age of 7. Early detection and treatment gives your child a much better chance for natural and normal smile development. By working with natural growth instead of against it, you can prevent problems from becoming worse, and give your child a healthy smile that lasts a lifetime!

Early treatment can prevent:

  • Poor habits such as tongue thrusting and thumb sucking.
  • A constricted airway due to swollen adenoids or tonsils.
  • Mouth breathing or snoring problems.
  • A bad, or misaligned bite.
  • Bone problems like narrow or underdeveloped jaws.
  • Abnormal teeth spacing from missing teeth.

Phase One

Functional (Growth) Appliances and/or Limited Braces - Ages 5-12

In the first phase, the orthodontist is interested in the position and symmetry of the jaws, future growth, spacing of the teeth, breathing and other oral habits which may result in abnormal dentofacial development if left untreated.

Treatment during this phase of development is often very successful and can sometimes eliminate the need for future orthodontic treatment.

Phase Two

Braces - Ages 12 to 14

In the second phase, the orthodontist will be looking at how your child’s teeth and jaws fit and function together. Your child’s teeth will be straightened and their occlusion (bite) will be properly aligned. Attention will be given to the jaw joint (TMJ), the facial profile and periodontal (gum) tissues. By undergoing treatment in the first phase, orthodontists can usually reduce the amount of time needed for braces.

Facts: Early Treatment Is Important to Consider!

Facial Development - 75% of 12-year-olds need orthodontic treatment. Yet by age 12, 90% of a child's face has already developed. By guiding facial development through the use of functional appliances, 80% of the issues can be corrected before adult teeth are present.

Cooperation - Children between the ages of 8 and 11 are often much more cooperative than children between the ages of 12 and 14.

Shorter Treatment Time - Early Phase One treatment can reduce the total time spent in fixed braces.

Correcting Underdeveloped or Overdeveloped Jaws - Nearly 55% of children needing orthodontic treatment due to a bad bite have underdeveloped or overdeveloped jaws. Functional appliances and/or limited braces can reposition the jaws, improving the child's profile and correcting the bite problem within 7 to 9 months.