Specialist in Orthodontics for Children, Teens, and Adults

Early Orthodontic Treatment

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 that children see an orthodontist as early as age seven. At this point we can evaluate whether your child will need orthodontic treatment.

Early treatment (also known as Phase One) typically begins around age eight or nine. Phase Two will begin around age 11 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, which lessens the chance of extractions in the future.

How to tell if your child may need early orthodontic treatment

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth (your son or daughter should typically start losing teeth around age five, and will have all permanent teeth around age 13)
  • Difficulty chewing and/or biting
  • Mouth breathing
  • Your child continues to suck 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)
  • Crowded front teeth around age seven or eight

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

Orthodontic problems such as crowding of the teeth, too much space between them, jaw growth problems, protruding teeth, and bad bites can be inherited or caused by injury to the mouth, early or late loss of baby teeth, or thumb-sucking habits.

Most children lose all their baby teeth by age 13, and by the end of their teen years, the jaw bones will harden and stop growing. Orthodontic procedures for adults often take more time and can involve tooth extraction or oral surgery.

Receiving early orthodontic treatment as a child can help prevent the need for orthodontics as an adult, which leaves little to no chance of extraction or surgery in the future.

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

What Our Patients Are Saying

"Dr. Hildebrand and his entire staff are absolutely wonderful. They are all very patient and caring. Dr. Hildebrand is awesome at making the kids feel comfortable and at ease. I feel that his treatment plans are always very well explained and very affordable in price. I have recommended many of our friends and they too love his practice. I wouldn't go to anyone else."

— Kelly N.

"I really appreciate how friendly, positive, and kind everyone in the office is. Dr. Hildebrand and his staff took care of my kids very well, and I loved them so much I came back for me! They are always willing to take the time to explain anything, from the treatment to the financial side of things, which I greatly appreciate."

— Daniele

"This practice is a wonderful place, especially for teens/children. You can tell they go the extra mile to focus on young adults and in doing so help them to feel more at ease. My 14-year-old daughter (who does not enjoy dentist appointments) actually likes the atmosphere here and isn't nervous at all. Dr. Hildebrand and his staff just seem to have a way with their patients.."

— Kayleigh V.

"Everyone at the office is super cool. They're all so kind on the phone and in person. When I come in, it's like I'm their best friend that's been out of town for a while and they welcome me back! The service provided by Penny, Missy, and the others is awesome!!! They're always very personable and professional. Dr. H has a wonderful team, and they show it every visit!"

—Apolonio R.