What is early treatment?

Early treatment involves the use of interceptive orthodontic care that begins during the childhood years. A variety of orthodontic appliances may be appropriate for interceptive care.

Orthodontists are constantly aware that "there are hidden pitfalls associated with interceptive treatment that may include long treatment times, maintenance of appliances, inability to accurately anticipate the changes associated with dentofacial growth and development, and the necessity to closely monitor treatment progress to avoid irreversible occlusal changes while evaluating treatment response." - Joondeph DR. Early orthodontic treatment. American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics 1993;104(2):199-200.


Why Early Treatment?

Given the hidden pitfalls associated with early treatment, it is important that your clinician has a solid understanding of jaw relationships and growth patterns in order to appropriately manage problems during the childhood years.

The goals of early treatment tend to include:

  • Prevent progressive, irreversible soft tissue (muscle and skin) or bony jaw changes,
  • Improve the relationship between the upper and lower jaw by influencing the amount and direction of facial growth or
  • Intercept adverse growth changes before undesirable and unaesthetic dental and muscular adaptations occur


Some advantages of early treatment may include:

  • Preserving or restoring facial symmetry during growth
  • Reducing damage and trauma to the front teeth
  • Preserving space for adult teeth
  • Reducing treatment time with braces
  • Creating room for crowded erupting teeth


When is the best time to start?

The Australian Society of Orthodontists recommends an initial orthodontic evaluation be conducted at the first sign of orthodontic (jaw or teeth) problems.

Alternately, this evaluation should be conducted no later than 7 years of age.

At this young age, your specialist orthodontist will be able to advise whether treatment is needed and anticipate the most effective age for treatment to commence.

Once appropriately informed, parents will be empowered to schedule treatment as needed for their child.