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.


Understanding Pediatric Orthodontic Care


So, what exactly does a pediatric orthodontist do? Picture them as architects of smiles. They don’t just straighten teeth; they create harmony between the teeth, jaw, and facial structures. By guiding the development of young mouths, they lay the groundwork for beautiful, healthy smiles that last a lifetime.

And why is seeing them early so beneficial? Let’s use another analogy: it’s like catching a small weed in your garden before it spreads. Early visits to a pediatric orthodontist can identify issues with jaw growth or tooth alignment before they become complicated. It’s about preventing a stitch in time to save nine, or in this case, preventing dental issues before they escalate.

Consulting with a pediatric orthodontist in Richmond, VA, early in your child’s life is akin to setting their smile up for success. It’s not just about aesthetics; it’s about health. Properly aligned teeth are easier to clean, reducing the risk of cavities and gum disease. A balanced bite can prevent issues with eating, speaking, and even breathing.

In short, think of early orthodontic care as a health investment, not just for your child’s smile but for their overall well-being. It’s a step towards ensuring they grow up not just with a beautiful smile but with a healthy one that will accompany them for years to come. So, why wait? Let’s give our children the gift of a healthy, confident smile, starting with that first visit to a pediatric orthodontist in Richmond, VA. It’s more than just a check-up; it’s the first step on a journey to lifelong health and happiness.

When to Visit a Pediatric Orthodontist

So, when is the right time for that first magical visit to a pediatric orthodontist? Think of it like the first day of school. Just as you wouldn’t wait until the third grade to start education, the same principle applies to dental health. The American Association of Orthodontists suggests the perfect time for this introduction is by age seven. But why seven, you might ask? Well, it’s a golden period when baby teeth and permanent teeth coexist, allowing the orthodontist to predict the dental future with a crystal ball’s clarity.

But what signs should you look for, signaling it’s time to make an appointment? Imagine your child’s mouth as a puzzle. Sometimes, the pieces don’t fit perfectly on their own. Crowded teeth, too much space between teeth, or jaws that seem out of sync are like puzzle pieces asking for help. Does your child have difficulty chewing, or do they often bite their cheek? These are clues, like breadcrumbs, leading you to the pediatric orthodontist’s door.

The Benefits of Early Orthodontic Treatment


Now, let’s talk about the magic of early orthodontic treatment. Imagine planting a seed. With the right care, it grows into a strong, healthy tree. Early orthodontic treatment works similarly for your child’s smile. It’s about guiding growth early on to avoid the need for more extensive work later. It can steer clear of the forest of braces in the teen years or even bypass it altogether.

Early intervention is like having a map of an unknown city. It directs the growth of the jaw and teeth, ensuring there’s enough room for permanent teeth to make their grand entrance. This can mean less time in braces and sometimes avoiding them entirely. Isn’t that a journey worth taking?

Moreover, this early care is not just about straight teeth. It’s like laying down a smooth, paved road for your child’s dental health. Properly aligned teeth are easier to clean, dodge cavities, and keep gum disease at bay. It’s about setting up a domino effect of health benefits that ripple through their smile over time.

But the benefits aren’t just physical. Imagine your child’s confidence blooming as their smile straightens. Early treatment can mean fewer years of feeling self-conscious, letting their true self shine through sooner. It’s a boost to their self-esteem, proving that sometimes, the best offense is a good defense.

In essence, the journey toward a healthy, beautiful smile begins with a single step – that first visit to a pediatric orthodontist in Richmond, VA. It’s about catching potential issues early, guiding growth, and laying the foundation for a lifetime of smiles. So, why wait for the signs when you can lead the way to a brighter dental future for your child? The benefits of early orthodontic treatment aren’t just about the teeth; they’re about nurturing health, confidence, and happiness.

How To Tell If Your Child May Need Early Orthodontic Treatment:

  • Difficulty chewing and/or biting
  • Mouth breathing
  • Your child continues sucking his or her thumb after age five
  • Speech impediments
  • 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)
  • 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.

Types of Treatments Offered by Pediatric Orthodontists in Richmond, VA

When you step into a pediatric orthodontist’s office in Richmond, VA, you’re entering a world of possibilities for your child’s smile. But what kind of magic tools do these smile wizards have at their disposal? Let’s break it down:

  1. Traditional Braces: These are the classic path to a straight smile. Imagine tiny train tracks guiding teeth to their perfect positions. They’re reliable, and effective, and have been steering smiles in the right direction for years.
  2. Clear Aligners: Think of these as the invisible cloak for teeth straightening. Perfect for those seeking a less noticeable option, they gently guide teeth without shouting about it.
  3. Space Maintainers: Lost a baby tooth too early? These little placeholders are like reserving a parking spot for the upcoming adult tooth, ensuring it has a place to park when it’s ready.
  4. Palatal Expanders: If the roof of your child’s mouth is more like a cozy cottage than a spacious hall, expanders can gently widen it, making room for teeth to fit comfortably.

Innovations in pediatric orthodontic treatments have turned what used to be a daunting process into an exciting journey toward health and confidence. From digital scanning that eliminates the need for messy impressions to 3D printing that brings precision to treatment plans, the future of orthodontics is here.


Achieve a perfect smile today!

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, don’t hesitate to get in touch with 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.


Scroll to Top