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Early Orthodontic Intervention

Early treatment is designed to improve the relationship between a child's teeth and jaws during their younger years to reduce the likelihood of more serious complications later in life. 

Why Choose Early Treatment?

Drs. Spokane and Karski can carefully examine your child's bite and assess any issues that may be interfering with the development of their healthy smile. Only a trained orthodontist can detect subtle skeletal issues that are capable of impacting your child's dental function. They are equipped to fully understand the foundation of a child's smile and what is to come in the developing years ahead.

By age six or seven, baby teeth have begun to fall out and the first set of permanent molars are erupting in the back. It is recommended that children see an orthodontist at this stage to determine if early treatment is needed.

Often, the results of the free initial consult will not result in any detectable problems. Your child will continue to be seen at no charge every year in our office to monitor their growth and development, preventing any issues from arising as permanent teeth erupt.

Developmental Changes

Early orthodontic treatment is best described as an intervention phase only necessary when there is a need to make changes to the bones while kids are still growing and developing. Waiting until all of the permanent teeth are in is usually too late to move bone. At that age, solutions are limited to the jaw space available. In many cases, extraction of permanent teeth or even jaw surgery could have been preventable with early treatment intervention.

Braces do not move bone, only teeth.  Orthopedic appliances, such as expanders, can move bones and create skeletal changes when used during a child's younger years.  The optimal period to create expansion in bones is while they are in development.  Below in Diagram A, the arrow is pointing to the area where the upper jaw has a suture that is open in children and has not yet fused together.

Only a trained orthodontist is able to determine the proper course of treatment and when is the appropriate time to begin for each patient.

However, below is a list of some of the most common problems treated in our practice that may benefit from early intervention.

  • Crossbites
  • Severe crowding
  • Narrow upper jaw
  • Under developed lower jaw
  • Thumb sucking habit
  • Crooked teeth
  • Protruding teeth
  • Underbites
  • Overbites
  • Open bites
  • Impacted teeth
  • Missing teeth

Airway & Breathing

Expanders can help with a child’s mouth breathing, snoring, sleep apnea, even allergies and other airway problems.  Numerous studies going all the way back to the 1800’s, up through the current studies of today, are continually confirming the positive correlations between maxillary palatal expanders and improved upper respiratory issues.

By increasing the width of the palate, we are simultaneously increasing the width the airways, as the two are interconnected as shown in Diagram A above. Most of our own patients with these concerns have seen a huge improvement and are grateful to have normal breathing restored following treatment.

Speech Issues

The palate is extremely important in speech. High/narrow arches, crowded teeth, jaw misalignment, overjets, deep bites, and other issues can make saying certain sounds and letter combinations more difficult.  Proper tongue position in the arch and against the teeth is critical in proper annunciation. We have had many patients with speech problems benefit from expanders.

Learn more about Children's Orthodontics

An early treatment patient holding his custom retainer and 3D printed teeth.
Both are created at our practice's own on-site lab.

Free Consultations

If you are worried that your child is experiencing any of the above issues, schedule a free consultation today.

Your first visit is totally complimentary and includes photographs, x-rays, digital scans, and a personalized treatment plan customized for each patient. Our offices make visits fun for children.

Text us at 724-846-9666 if you have questions or use our Contact Us page to reach out.


Contact Us

Highly satisfied with my child's ortho procedure. The entire process has been seamless even with the pandemic. The website and patient portal is user friendly, but should you need to call the office for any reason, a staff member always answers in a friendly manner.  The Ambridge office is stunning, it's like waking into a super hero museum.  Everybody's favorite super hero can be found.  Dr. Spokane has a great chair side manner, upbeat and friendly.  My child was nervous at first but his fear quickly went away with the super comfortable atmosphere.  I recommend Dr. Spokane to all my friends and family.

-Cymone Bronaugh