Parents Guide to Orthodontics

Parent's Guide to Orthodontics: The ABC’s of orthodontic treatment

Everything you need to know about growth monitoring, phase-1 treatment and the early signs of common orthodontic problems.


Orthodontists receive special training to spot the warning signs of orthodontic issues in young children. They also understand how your child's growth over the coming years can have a big impact on orthodontic treatment. Monitoring your child from an early age can help catch orthodontic concerns before they become major problems.

Not all orthodontic issues require interventive or phase-1 treatment, but making sure your child recieves the appropriate care early on can make a big difference to health of their mouth and smile.

Some common orthodontic issues for kids include:


Airway Obstruction: well developed airways allow normal breathing through the nose when the mouth is closed. While this may sound trivial, nasal breathing is important because it’s now known to be vital to good health. Airway obstruction has been linked to developmental delays, sleep disorders, behavioral disturbances, and later can lead to hypertension, stroke, heart disease and even premature death. These sound scary but the treatment is easy if we are able to catch it early on!  We all can relate to our little ones that struggle with allergies!


Crossbites: by age 7 most children’s permanent molars and incisors have come in. A trained eye can see early on if crowding or crossbites will be an issue as the rest of your child’s permanent teeth come in. The earlier treatment begins, the easier it will be because your child’s jaw is less developed at this early age and can be guided along the right path rather than working to reverse issues at a later age.

Overcrowding: Traditionally, orthodontists would suggest waiting until age 11 or 12 to treat a crowding problem, but the problem isn’t going to get any better by waiting. Early treatment has been proven to correct narrow arch and create space for the teeth as well as for the tongue so it may function correctly when swallowing. Plus, early treatment can avoid the need for future tooth extraction or jaw surgery.

Not every child will need early treatment, but if they do it could make a big difference in the outcome of treatment later on. We can simplify their treatment by taking advantage of growth and by often avoiding unnecessary extractions.  We focus on your child’s individual needs and combine growth monitoring and early orthodontic treatment to ensure your child will get the right care, at the right time. 

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