Preventative/Interceptive Orthodontics

Orthodontics for Young Children

An early phase of treatment may precede braces to take advantage of a child's growing jaws. Early treatment moves jaw bones and chewing muscles into position, setting the stage for the most stable bite correction possible. This early orthopedic (or “bone”) phase of treatment may last a year or more:

  • A palatal expander gently widens a too-small upper jaw to make room for crowded teeth.
  • A habit corrector helps stop thumb sucking, tongue thrusting (a swallowing habit), or mouth breathing.
  • A functional appliance guides growing jaws into position and teaches chewing muscles to "bite right".
  • Braces move a child's permanent teeth into position.
  • Headgear helps realign jaws or move teeth into line.
  • A retainer helps stabilize teeth in their new positions.

Before planning treatment, Dr. Brent Porter examines a child's teeth, jaw, jaw joints, face, and profile, and studies how they bite and swallow. The child's dental and medical histories are taken. If the child is looking for cosmetic changes in their smile or face, our pediatric dentist will ask about the child's specific goals for orthodontics.

X-rays and precise measurements traced over them show how the child's bite can be corrected.