Early Orthodontic Treatment for Children

When and Why Is It Necessary?

As a parent, you may wonder whether orthodontic treatment for your child is necessary before all their permanent teeth have come in. The truth is, there are various reasons and issues that may require early orthodontic intervention. In this blog post, we will explore the common reasons and issues that may necessitate orthodontic treatment for your child before they have all their permanent teeth.

Crowding of Teeth:

One of the most prevalent reasons for early orthodontic treatment is crowding of teeth. This occurs when there isn’t enough space in the mouth for all the permanent teeth to come in properly. Sometimes, although the baby teeth do not appear crowded, there may be significant crowding associated with the adult teeth developing in the bone that can only be seen on an X-ray. Crowded teeth can lead to alignment problems, difficulty in cleaning, and an increased risk of dental issues like cavities and gum disease. Early treatment can create space for permanent teeth to erupt correctly, potentially preventing more extensive orthodontic problems in the future.


Crossbite is a condition where the upper teeth fit inside the lower teeth when the jaws are closed. It can cause misalignment of the jaws and impact a child’s bite and facial development. Orthodontic treatment can correct crossbite early on, improving jaw alignment and preventing potential speech problems and even wear of teeth. If not treated early, tooth extraction and/or jaw surgery could be required to properly align the teeth and jaws.

Overbites and Underbites:

An overbite occurs when the upper front teeth excessively overlap the lower front teeth, while an underbite is the opposite, with the lower teeth protruding in front of the upper teeth. These issues can affect a child’s facial appearance, speech, and chewing function. Early orthodontic treatment can help address overbites and underbites, guiding proper jaw development.

Thumb-Sucking and Pacifier Habits:

Prolonged thumb-sucking or pacifier use can lead to dental issues such as severe crowding, narrow jaw, breathing and airway issues, flaring of teeth and open bite. Orthodontic intervention can help break these habits and correct any associated dental problems.

Jaw Growth Irregularities:

Some children may have jaw growth irregularities that require early orthodontic evaluation and treatment. These irregularities can affect a child’s bite and facial symmetry. Orthodontists can monitor jaw development and intervene as needed to guide proper growth.

Speech and Breathing Problems:

Orthodontic issues can sometimes contribute to speech difficulties and breathing problems in children. Addressing these issues early can not only improve speech clarity but also enhance overall respiratory health.

Traumatic Dental Injuries:

If your child experiences a traumatic injury to the teeth or jaws, early orthodontist treatment may be necessary to address the damage and prevent long-term complications. Also, some children have upper front teeth that protrude excessively forward in the mouth, predisposing them to trauma and broken teeth.


In some cases, excessive flaring of the teeth, spacing, or crowding can make a child feel confident in their smile or may lead to bullying. In these cases, braces or aligners can often be used to quickly and easily align the teeth to give the child the confidence and positive mental health they need to navigate social life.

Early Orthodontic Treatment for Children: When and Why Is It Necessary?

Early orthodontic treatment for children before all their permanent teeth have erupted is often recommended to address a range of issues, including crowding, bite problems, jaw irregularities, and habits like thumb-sucking. Early intervention can lead to more effective and efficient treatment, preventing more severe problems in the future and ultimately ensuring your child’s dental health and overall well-being. If you have concerns about your child’s dental development, please consult with one of our orthodontists for a personalized evaluation and treatment plan.