Prevention starts early


It is recommended by the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) that most kids should see an orthodontist and have an orthodontic screening by the age of seven. This allows Dr. Silvana Gonzalez to find out if orthodontic treatment will be needed or not and in case it is needed to determine the best time for the patient to be treated.


In some cases, Dr. Gonzalez may recommend early orthodontic treatment (Phase One treatment) to help with the correct growth and development of the child’s teeth and jaws. Early orthodontic diagnosis and treatment can guide erupting teeth into a more favorable position, create space for permanent teeth, and allow the upper and lower jaws to grow correctly.


Early orthodontic treatment prevents more orthodontic concerns when your child is an adult. 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.


If early treatment is indicated, Dr. Silvana Gonzalez can guide the growth of the child’s jaw and the incoming permanent teeth. Early treatments can also adjust the width of the upper and lower dental arches, providing space for permanent teeth. It can also help to avoid the necessity for permanent tooth extractions, reduce the likelihood of impacted permanent teeth, correct thumb-sucking, and eliminate abnormal swallowing or speech problems. In other words, early treatment can simplify any later more complicated orthodontic treatment, after all the permanent teeth erupt.

Children’s Teeth Are Still Growing


Children’s teeth and jaws are still growing and developing at this stage, so if major problems exist, we have a better opportunity to correct the problem before growth is complete.


Early treatment reduces the complexity of the second phase of treatment, and may even allow your child to avoid tooth extraction or surgical procedures in the future.


Following early treatment (which usually lasts about one year), your child will be closely monitored as their permanent teeth continue to develop. Once all permanent teeth have grown in the mouth, the second and final phase of treatment, which includes full braces, or Invisalign will begin.


How Can I Tell If My Child Needs Treatment?


There are a variety of indicators for early orthodontic treatment, including:

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth (primary teeth)
  • Severely crowded teeth
  • Impacted permanent teeth
  • Thumb sucking after age 5
  • Asymmetrical face
  • Irregular facial profile
  • Difficulty chewing or biting
  • Mouth Breathing
  • Speech impediments
  • Protruding teeth
  • Gaps between teeth
  • Crowded front teeth near age 7 or 8
  • Over or Underbites


When To Schedule A Consultation For Your Child


Because some of these problems may not be obvious to parents, we recommend that all come in before the age of 7


In many instances, Dr. Silvana will perform your child’s initial orthodontic consultation and recommend that no treatment is necessary until all permanent teeth are present.  In such cases, we will see your child every 6 months to one year to monitor their development and begin treatment only when the time is right.  These growth and development visits are always complementary.

Why might my child need orthodontic treatment?

There are a variety of indicators for the need for early orthodontic treatment. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children see an orthodontist as early as age 7. At this point the orthodontist will evaluate if your child needs orthodontic treatment.

How will early treatment benefit my child?

The goal of early orthodontic treatment is to correct the growth of the jaw and bite problems (like underbite) before they are prominent. Early treatment also makes room for permanent teeth to grow properly, reducing the chance of smile problems in the future.

What causes orthodontic problems?

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.

What is a typical treatment schedule?

Early treatment usually begins at age 8 or 9, with a second phase of treatment usually starting near age 11. Receiving early orthodontic treatment can help prevent the need for orthodontics as an adult, significantly reducing chance of tooth extraction or dental surgery in the future.