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Early Treatment


Young girl with glasses wearing bracesAt Lakewood Dental Arts, we pride ourselves on treating every member of the family, especially children. Not only is our office family-friendly and comfortable, but we also utilize the latest techniques and cutting-edge technology to provide supreme care. We believe healthy smiles for healthy families begin with professional orthodontics.

Early orthodontic treatment can not only give your child a more beautiful smile; it can prevent oral health problems in the future. Overly crowded teeth can trap food debris and bacteria, make it difficult to clean these areas properly, and ultimately result in tooth decay and gum disease. With early orthodontic treatment, we can establish a strong foundation for their oral health that follows them into adulthood.

When to Schedule Your Child’s First Orthodontic Appointment


The American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) suggests that a child should receive their first orthodontic evaluation by age seven or younger. At this point, your child should have enough permanent teeth for us to make a proper diagnosis. Because the facial and jaw bones are still growing, it is an ideal time to evaluate potential problems.

As a highly-educated, highly-skilled orthodontist, our doctors are specifically trained to spot subtle problems in younger children. After your child’s initial check-up, there are three general outcomes:
•  Your child’s oral health is in good standing and does not require early treatment.
•  We diagnose a problem that requires early treatment.
•  We determine that treatment will be needed in the future. We then ask you to schedule periodic follow-up appointments, so that we can monitor your child’s development.

Problems We Can Address With Early Treatment


While the teeth and bones are still developing, certain issues may be easier to address. The types of problems most suitable for early orthodontics include:
•  Overly crowded teeth
•  Severely gapped teeth
•  Extra or missing teeth
•  Misaligned teeth
•  Severe overbites
•  Severe underbites
•  Severe crossbites
•  Severe open bites
•  Development issues with the teeth or jaw due to excessive thumb, finger, or pacifier sucking

The goal of early treatment is to catch developing problems and guide the eruption of the remaining permanent teeth. This is sometimes referred to as Phase 1 treatment, which is focused on underlying skeletal issues while the facial and jaw bones are still growing. This may include wearing partial braces or a palate expander to create more room in the jaw for erupting teeth. Then, if needed, we recommend Phase 2 care, which involves more traditional orthodontics such as braces or aligners.

Making Orthodontics Fun


We understand that most children are not exactly thrilled during their visit to the dentist. However, we strive to make their experience as fun and comfortable as possible. Over time, you may find your child looking forward to their appointments with us!

We also understand there is a certain stigma associated with traditional metal braces. To make braces more acceptable and fun for our younger patients, we offer a wide-variety of brightly colored elastic bands. The elastic bands secure the arch wire to the brackets, and choosing the color can help your child feel more involved in treatment.

Schedule Your Child’s Appointment


If you would like to learn more about your child’s oral health, we can help! Call (562) 384-1091 to schedule their initial appointment today!

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