Early Treatment

Orthodontists prefer to see children at 6-8 years of age. The reason for this is to evaluate the facial growth pattern and eruption of the first permanent teeth. In some cases, the occlusion or bite may produce a deflection that can cause asymmetric facial growth and excessive pressure on the jaw joints. Some bite problems will inhibit the proper growth of the jaws. These need to be corrected before they cause major problems that will be more difficult if not impossible to correct later. Some problems, if not resolved, may require surgery in adulthood.

Severe crowding is also a concern. Although extraction of permanent teeth is an acceptable treatment, it is always a primary goal to keep all the permanent teeth if possible. Sometimes early treatment is suggested in crowded cases to minimize the chance of extraction later.

A second phase of treatment is usually required once all of the permanent teeth are completely erupted. This phase is usually shorter than if no early treatment were initiated and in some cases, no further treatment is required.