Early Orthodontic Treatment

Orthodontic Treatment & Evaluation For Children

At Pedodontics, P.C., we strive to provide the highest quality orthodontic treatment to children in Omaha and the surrounding areas. We recommend that your child come in for their first visit by the age of seven, as these early examinations allow for timely detection and effective treatment of problems that have the possibility of developing into more serious conditions in the future.

In the past, orthodontic patients were told to wait until all of the permanent teeth had erupted. Unfortunately, many of the problems that can be easily corrected at a younger age cannot be fully corrected later. Today we know that younger children can benefit in many ways from early care. In fact, the American Association of Orthodontists suggests that all children should be seen by an orthodontist no later than the age of seven.

Why Should My Child See An Orthodontist?

An orthodontist has 2-3 years of advanced training beyond dental school, which gives them the ability to pick up on subtle problems that may present at an early age. An orthodontist doesn’t just specialize in straightening teeth; they take into account your child’s face and profile when making an individualized treatment plan. Is your child’s profile straight, convex or concave? Is your child’s smile broad enough or too narrow for their face? Does your child have full lips or thin lips? Does your child have a good smile line or a gummy smile? Did your caregiver incorporate these issues into your child’s specific treatment plan? Is your caregiver trained to give your child the best esthetic result possible for their teeth and face? These are all questions an orthodontist takes into consideration when designing a treatment plan for your child.


How Do I Know If My Child Needs Early Orthodontic Treatment?

It’s not always easy to know when your child may need early treatment but there are some signs or habits that can contribute to orthodontic problems. Some of the problems or indications you may look for are:

  • Finger/thumb sucking
  • Mouth breathing
  • Early or late loss of teeth or missing teeth
  • Are there joint sounds in the jaw? Do the joints pop? Do the jaws shift upon closure?
  • Is there a crossbite, underbite or overbite? The jaws should fit like a box with a lid -- the upper jaw should be bigger and fit over the lower jaw.
  • Narrow arches, open bites, and/or deep bites all constitute a type of developing malocclusion
  • Lots of crowding or rotations or spacing

What Are The Advantages Of Early Orthodontic Treatment?

The advantages and direct results of interceptive orthodontic treatment for children are:

  • Creating room for crowded, unerupted teeth and therefore less removal of permanent teeth
  • Preserving space for unerupted teeth if and when baby teeth are prematurely lost
  • Creating facial symmetry by influencing jaw growth
  • Reducing the risk of dental trauma by reducing protrusion of upper teeth and attempting to influence skeletal growth in a positive direction
  • Reducing treatment time with full braces later

What Are The Stages Of Early Orthodontic Treatment?

Sometimes orthodontic treatment is divided into two phases. The first phase is utilized to create a better environment for teeth to erupt. It is not just about straightening teeth, although a benefit of creating space often allows for better alignment. The first phase is about treating the biggest orthodontic concerns, including jaw problems, horizontal and vertical bite problems, modifying growth, and expanding the arches and controlling habits.

All of these things can be very difficult to treat once children have reached 12 or 13 years of age or when growth is almost complete. This why they’re addressed during the first phase of treatment. The second phase of treatment is called growth modification. Growth modification as part of early orthodontic treatment is about preventing more serious problems from occurring at a later age. This is only possible when the bones are still growing and is most effective during a child’s growth spurts.

Contact Your Omaha Orthodontist Today

Throughout your child’s treatment, we’ll be here to answer your questions, address your concerns, and explain every phase of treatment along the way. To schedule your child’s early evaluation, please call us at 402-330-5913 or reach out to us at our contact page. We look forward to hearing from you, and we’re excited to help your child achieve a lifelong, healthy smile!