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Early Orthodontic Treatment for Children

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 children first see an orthodontist as early as age seven. At this point, the orthodontist will evaluate whether or not your child will need orthodontic treatment.

Early treatment (also known as Phase One) typically begins around age seven or eight (Phase Two will begin around age 12 or older). The goal of early treatment is to correct the growth of the jaw and certain bite problems such as underbite. Early treatment also helps to make room for permanent teeth to come in properly, lessening the chance for extractions in the future.

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

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)
Severely crowded front teeth around age seven or eight

What causes orthodontic problems, and how will early prevention benefit my child?

Orthodontic problems such as crowding of the teeth, too much space between the teeth, jaw growth problems, protruding teeth, and bad bites may be inherited; or, may also result from injury to the mouth, early or late loss of baby teeth, or thumb sucking habits.

If your child is between the ages of seven and eight and shows signs of needing orthodontic care, or if you have been directed by your family dentist to visit the orthodontist, please contact our practice and schedule an appointment. Our team will provide your child with an initial exam, and discuss with you the best steps to take toward caring for your child’s smile.

Our Tarzana Orthodontic office caters to patients in the San Fernando Valley, Encino, Woodland Hills, and Reseda neighborhoods.

Enhancing Lives Through Beautiful Smiles

Dr. Nooshi Akavan

(818) 345-9601

18919 Ventura Blvd., Suite B
Tarzana, California 91356