Early Prevention Orthodontics

Early treatment (also known as Phase One treatment) gives your orthodontist the chance to guide jaw growth, lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth, correct harmful oral habits, improve appearance, guide permanent teeth into a more favorable position. Early treatment also allows your orthodontist to create more space for crowded teeth, lessening the need for permanent tooth extractions later in life. Phase Two treatment will begin around age eleven or older, when most of the permanent teeth have come in.

While orthodontics involves the management of tooth movement; dentofacial orthopedics involves the guidance of facial growth and development, which occurs largely during childhood. Appliances such as headgear, facemask, and expanders are used, depending on what facial abnormalities are present.

When is the right time for an orthodontic checkup?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an evaluation with an orthodontic specialist no later than age 7. Orthodontists can detect problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth, and early treatment may prevent more serious problems from developing. Early evaluation gives your child the best opportunity to receive the optimum treatment he or she needs. Every patient is unique in his or her physiologic development and treatment needs. An orthodontist’s goal is to provide each patient with the most appropriate treatment at the most appropriate time.

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends a consultation with an orthodontist if you recognize any of these signs in your child:

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth
  • Difficulty chewing or biting
  • Mouth breathing
  • Sucking the thumb or fingers, or other oral habits
  • Crowded, misplaced or blocked-out teeth
  • Jaws that protrude, are recessed or shift
  • Speech difficulty
  • Biting the cheek or biting into the roof of the mouth
  • Protruding teeth
  • Teeth that meet in an abnormal way or don’t meet at all
  • Facial imbalance or asymmetry (features out of proportion to the rest of the face)
  • Grinding or clenching of teeth
  • Inability to comfortably close lips