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Address Issues Before They Become Significant Problems

Early Treatment

As your child grows and develops, you may notice slight differences in their upper and lower jaws or abnormalities in how their emerging permanent teeth are starting to erupt. Most commonly, this takes the form of the upper jaw being narrower than the broader curve found in the lower jaw, which can cause various issues later in life. These conditions can include orthodontic problems like crossbites, underbites, dental crowding and more, as well as health concerns like difficulty breathing and sleep-disordered breathing.

In these cases, your orthodontist, Dr. Glass, may recommend early interceptive treatment to rectify these issues before they ever become a significant problem for your child. Early treatment begins before all permanent teeth have erupted and typically occurs between the ages of seven and ten. The goal of early treatment is to intercept the developing problem, eliminate the cause, guide the growth of facial and jawbones, and provide adequate space for incoming permanent teeth. Early orthodontic treatment, also called Phase 1 treatment, is an orthodontic treatment to help correct immediate problems and prevent future issues.

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When Should I Take My Child To An Orthodontist?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children have their first visit with an orthodontist by the age of 7. For those who associate orthodontics with only those orthodontic appliances meant to straighten permanent teeth, like braces or Invisalign®, this number may be surprising. However, early treatment, also known as early interceptive treatment, is an essential part of any child’s dental care.

Age 7 is a time when most children still have something called mixed dentition, meaning they have some permanent teeth growing in as well as their remaining baby teeth. This makes it a perfect time for Dr. Glass to identify subtle abnormalities in jaw growth and emerging permanent teeth, and begin early interceptive treatment if necessary.

How Can I Tell If My Child Needs Early Treatment?

Most individuals are familiar with some common orthodontic issues, such as overbites, underbites, crossbites or crowded teeth. These problems are clear to see as children reach adolescence and adulthood when their permanent teeth have fully grown in. However, many orthodontic issues that develop later in life can be detected early by orthodontists and then avoided with the proper care during childhood.

Not all children require early expansion or early interventional treatment, though all should be seen by an orthodontist to be sure there are no hidden underlying issues only a professional can detect.

Generally, children who require early treatment are those who have one or multiple of the following:

  • Protruding upper teeth or overbite
  • Open bite, caused by pacifier use or frequent thumb sucking
  • Underbite
  • Severe crowding of front or back teeth
  • Extra or missing teeth
  • Difficulty chewing or biting down
  • Crossbite in the front teeth, risking trauma to the edges of the front teeth
  • Crossbite in the back teeth, causing the jaw to grow asymmetrically
  • Excessively spaced teeth

Early care allows us to provide the most effective and efficient care for your child. Visiting our office for an examination to check oral growth and development before the age of 7 can help us catch developing problems such as an open bite or overbite before it becomes more exaggerated, stress-inducing and costly during subsequent facial and jaw bone growth.

At your visit with Dr. Glass at Glass Orthodontics, our expert team will examine your child’s teeth and determine if they require early interceptive treatment. If you think your child may need early expansion or early orthodontic care, contact our office at 757-204-7770 to schedule an appointment.

Real Patients. Real Results

Before After Phase I treatment beforePhase I treatment after


Case: Phase I treatment with anterior crossbite and narrow jaw which could lead to crowding

Treatment: In this early treatment case we used upper and lower expanders to correct an anterior crossbite and widen her narrow upper jaw. This will allow room for her adult teeth to grow in without being overcrowded.

Before After Phase I treatment beforePhase I treatment after

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Are you curious to learn more? Fill out our easy online form to request your complimentary orthodontic consultation with Dr Timothy Glass.

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