Early Treatment

Early orthodontic treatment is also referred to as Phase I.

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that your child's first visit to the orthodontist should occur by age seven. Orthodontic treatment is usually associated with adolescence, although there are times that children exhibit signs of needing orthodontic care early.

There are several signs that indicate that your child may need orthodontic treatment:

  • Losing his/her teeth too early or too late
  • Difficulty chewing or biting
  • Breathing through the mouth
  • Sucking his/her fingers
  • Teeth that are crowded or misplaced
  • Jaws that make a "popping" sound or shift
  • Difficulty in speaking
  • Frequent cheek biting
  • Imbalance of facial features
  • Jaws that protrude or retrude
  • Teeth grinding

We utilize appliances that help with jaw and teeth alignment while children are still growing. Many patients simply need space created so all the permanent teeth can erupt. This eliminates the need for extracting teeth or jaw surgery at a later date. Early treatment (Phase I) may also help a child's self-esteem; a fragile asset that is so important in growing up. Although treatment will not necessarily begin at this early age, Dr. Nelson will monitor your child periodically while the permanent teeth are erupting and the jaws and face continue to grow.