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 longrun?
These are just a few of the questions surrounding the topic of early orthodontic treatment for children. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children see an orthodontist by age 7. By this age, most children have their 1st molars, and an orthodontist can evaluate whether they might benefit from early or interceptive treatment. The goal of early treatment is to correct a problem that can not be corrected at a later stage.

How to tell if your child may need early orthodontic treatment:

While most children do not need interceptive (or phase I) orthodontic treatment, here are some examples of situations where early treatment may be beneficial:

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth

  • Difficulty chewing

  • Mouth breathing

  • Your child continues sucking their thumb after age five

  • Speech impediments

  • Underbites (the bottom teeth are in front of the top teeth

  • Shifting of the jaw when your child closes his/her mouth (crossbites)

  • Severe crowding

  • Severe protrusion of the upper teeth

Common Bite Problems Seen in Children


Orthodontic problems are caused by many reasons. They can be caused by habits. Thumb sucking can lead to narrowing of the upper jaw and result in a crossbite. Sucking on the lower lip can cause protrusion of the upper teeth and a severe overbite. Orthodontic problems can also be genetic. This is often the case with severe overbites, underbites, crowding, and spacing. By seeing your child at an early age, Dr Beecroft may be able to prevent future problems including the extraction of permanent teeth and even surgery.

If your child 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.

Early Prevention