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 the orthodontist will 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, lessening 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 child 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 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)
  • 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 the teeth, 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, leaving 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 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.

Read Our Testimonials

Dr. Leo Spyrou and his team are magnificent. My daughter has been a patient for 4 years, had the braces and now retainers. The experience was nothing less than positive. Her teeth are beautiful and people compliment her daily. We were so completely satisfied with Dr. Spyrou that we entrusted our second daughter's mouth in his care. Once again, happiness. My daughter goes in and out of the office willingly and happily. The women that work in the office are so friendly and considerate. I cannot say enough for Dr. Spyrou and his staff; they are wonderful and know their craft well. They get our constant recommendation!! ~ The Piccoli Family, Stoneham, MA ~
Dr. Spyrou has been working with our daughter for the past 2 years. His expertise and knowledge is evident when you sit down to discuss in length his view of your child's teeth a facial structure and overall health. Dr. Spyrou is able to show you firsthand what he sees when he looks at your child and explains to you treatment options. His staff has been nothing short of professional. Not only has our daughter's teeth come a long way, but throughout the entire process, Dr. Spyrou and his staff have always been willing and able to answer any questions or concerns. We would highly recommend Dr. Spyrou and will soon be bringing our son for his initial evaluation with Dr. Spyrou.~ John and Deb Spencer, North Reading, MA
Dr. "Leo" and his staff exemplify the "4P's" of what is most important to me as a parent… Professionalism, Personable, Price, and of course Perfection!

After experiencing a great orthodontic experience with my oldest daughter, bringing my youngest daughter to Dr. Leo was a "no-brainer". Great smiles… from both kids and parents alike!~ The Craham Family, Billerica, MA
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