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

These are common questions parents have in regard to bringing their child to see an orthodontist for early treatment. While there is no pre-determined age at which kids should begin receiving orthodontic treatment, the American Association of Orthodontists advises that your child visit the orthodontist around the age of 7 because, by this age, your child should already have several adult teeth. The mix of adult and baby teeth in your child’s smile allows Dr. Galati to detect and correct any tooth or jaw problems sooner.

Early treatment (also known as interceptive treatment or phase one orthodontics) is typically recommended for children ages 8-10. Comprehensive (full) treatment (also known as phase two) usually begins between the ages of 11 and 14.

Early Treatment Allows Dr. Galati To

  • Correct unfavorable growth of your child’s jaw and certain bite problems, such as underbite, open bite, or deep bite
  • Allow permanent teeth to come into the correct position
  • Regulate the width of the upper and lower arches
  • Create more space for crowded teeth that may not emerge on their own
  • Avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions in the future
  • Correct thumb sucking or other habits and help improve minor speech problems

For parents, it’s not always easy to know if your child will need orthodontic treatment.

Signs That Your Child May Need Early Orthodontic Treatment

  • Crowded front teeth (usually around age 7 or 8)
  • Early or late loss of temporary teeth (most children begin losing teeth around age 5, and should have all their adult teeth around age 13)
  • Difficulty biting and/or chewing food
  • Mouth breathing
  • Continuation of thumb sucking past the age of 4
  • Speech impediments
  • Protruding teeth (top teeth and bottom teeth extend away from each other)
  • Abnormal bite (teeth don’t come together well, or at all)
  • Lower jaw shifts when your child opens or closes their mouth (crossbites)
  • Misplaced or blocked out teeth
  • Jaws and teeth that are disproportionate to the facial structure

What causes orthodontic problems, and how will early prevention benefit my child?
Orthodontic problems can be inherited or caused. Injury to the mouth, early or late loss of baby teeth, or thumb-sucking habits can create orthodontic conditions such as overcrowded teeth, gapped teeth, jaw growth issues, protruding teeth, and poor bites.

Most children have all of their adult teeth by age 13, and their jaw bones will harden and stop growing by the end of their teenage years. Because adults have fully developed jaws, adult orthodontic procedures can take more time and may involve treatments such as tooth extraction or oral surgery. Early orthodontic treatment during childhood can help prevent the need for orthodontic care during the adult years, and greatly reduce the chances of needing a tooth extraction or jaw surgery.

Please feel free to call our office 480-656-7801 to schedule a complimentary new patient exam or use our website to request an appointment, and we will reach out to you!