Early Treatment

Does My Child Need Early Orthodontic Treatment?

Our philosophy at Perfect Smiles Orthodontics is to treat patients at the ideal age in order to eliminate unnecessary work, extractions, and unneeded surgery. This means that we have some patients start treatment as early as 7 years of age, while we have also had patients start treatment well into adulthood.

Every person is different, and there really is no rule that all the permanent teeth should be in before a patient can have braces. In fact, sometimes waiting on all of the permanent teeth to come in can actually cause major problems to develop!

EarlyTreatmentSince the 1990’s, the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) has recommended orthodontic evaluations for children at 7 years old, when most are losing baby teeth and their permanent teeth are emerging. These early evaluations allow orthodontists to recognize irregularities in your child’s mouth before they become major orthodontic issues.

That’s why we offer free orthodontic screening for any child age 7 and up.

If early orthodontic treatment is deemed necessary, your orthodontist can begin to design a treatment plan to help guide your child’s teeth to their correct positions. Usually Phase I treatment has very defined set of Goals to be achieved.

Phase 1 Orthodontic Treatment

For instance, with phase 1 orthodontic treatment, your orthodontist may use a palatal expander to expand the upper arch of your child’s teeth, making more room for the permanent teeth to come in less crowded, and potentially more evenly spaced.

Early treatment can also potentially address some issues with the jaw and bite, such as protruding front teeth and crossbites, with certain types of orthodontic appliances. This can minimize the need for jaw surgery later in life and shorten treatment time spent in braces in middle and high school. This can also prevent children with excessive flaring of their front teeth from experiencing trauma to their front teeth during sports and activities.

Many children don’t need early orthodontic treatment at the time of their initial evaluation. However, the initial evaluation can still be valuable, because from there we can schedule periodic Growth and Guidance appointments to monitor your child’s teeth as they emerge and then begin treatment later if it becomes necessary.

The Orthodontic Resting Period

Between Phase 1 and Phase 2 orthodontic treatment will be a one or two year “resting period.” During this time, your child’s mouth is allowed to develop on its own and the rest of your child’s permanent teeth emerge, most likely in better positions than they would have without Phase 1 treatment.

During the resting period, appointments with your orthodontist may still be scheduled just to monitor the growth and development your child’s smile. Your orthodontist may also prescribe a retainer for your child to wear during the resting period to maintain the effects of Phase 1 braces.

Back to Top

Appointment Request

Request an Appointment.

Read More




1501 E. Katella Ave.
Orange, CA 92867
Fax:      (714) 771-2215

Get Directions