Early Orthodontic Treatment

Embrace Orthodontics provides Early Orthodontic Treatment services in Westport, CT. Call 203-227-6061 to learn more and schedule your appointment. 

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children receive an orthodontic screening by the age of 7. If your first encounter with an orthodontist was getting braces as a teenager, this recommendation may surprise you, but early orthodontics is a more effective treatment approach because it allows us to identify potential issues before they develop and influence the jaw while it’s still growing.

Around the age of 7, the first molars have usually erupted, which defines a child’s back bite. Although evaluations are recommended at this age, that doesn’t mean treatment will begin at this time. We will identify any potential orthodontic concerns during your child's initial appointment and establish a follow-up schedule for monitoring jaw and teeth development in order to pinpoint the best time to begin treatment. Early orthodontics can:

  • Reduce the likelihood of needing tooth extractions before getting braces
  • Create space for crowded teeth
  • Minimize the risk of injury to protruding front teeth
  • Preserve space for permanent teeth
  • Reduce the treatment time needed for Phase II orthodontics

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Early Orthodontic Treatment Options

Interceptive orthodontics may be used to guide proper jaw growth and prevent crowding as part of early orthodontic treatment. The following are examples of common interceptive orthodontic appliances for young patients:

  • Habit Appliances – A habit appliance is designed to prevent harmful oral habits such as tongue thrusting and thumb and finger sucking. When a habit is causing orthodontic complications in children under the age of 7, these appliances may be recommended.
  • Space Maintainers – Neighboring teeth may drift into the space left behind when a deciduous (baby) tooth is lost too early, preventing the secondary (permanent) tooth from erupting properly. To avoid this, space maintainers are placed in the gap where the lost tooth used to be.
  • Palatal Expanders – When there isn't enough room in the upper jaw for secondary teeth to erupt without crowding, a palatal expander provides additional space without requiring the removal of secondary teeth.

Frequently Asked Questions About Early Orthodontic Treatment

What is early orthodontic treatment?

Early orthodontic treatment focuses on guiding proper jaw growth and ending harmful oral habits, which prevents crowding, misaligned teeth, and an improper bite.

What is the best age to start early orthodontic treatment?

Most children begin orthodontic treatment between the ages of 9 and 14, but some children may require treatment sooner. Ultimately, every patient is unique, but it’s always better to be proactive and begin treatment early to prevent problems from forming when possible.

What is Phase I orthodontic treatment?

Phase I orthodontic treatment is another term used for early orthodontic treatment.

Does my child need a space maintainer?

If a baby tooth is knocked out or extracted well before the permanent tooth is expected to erupt, your child may need a space maintainer to hold the space open.

Are palatal expanders effective?

Yes, palatal expanders are an effective method of treating patients with improper bite or upper jaws that are too narrow for their permanent teeth to erupt without crowding.

Call 203-227-6061 to schedule your appointment.