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Early Orthodontics Bixby Knolls, CA

Early orthodontic treatment consists of orthodontic services provided to patients under 10 years of age. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children see a North Long Beach orthodontist at no later than seven years of age. Early evaluations of a child’s occlusion can help us treat issues promptly and prevent the need to perform complex procedures down the road.

What Is Early Orthodontic Treatment from a Bixby Knolls Orthodontist?

Early orthodontic treatment is also called Phase I orthodontic treatment. This treatment phase is for children with some or all their baby teeth.

The goal of your Bixby Knolls dentist is to ensure proper growth of adult teeth and prevent improper alignment of a child’s permanent teeth.

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Types of Early Orthodontic Treatment

Your child’s orthodontist will determine which treatment to use based on your child’s unique needs. The four most common appliances used include:

Partial Braces

Partial braces can help an orthodontist address a specific occlusion issue. At times, this includes placing braces on baby teeth. The primary teeth are used as anchor teeth to help:

  • Close open bites
  • Close spaces between teeth
  • Alleviate crowding


Retainers can be used after partial braces to help maintain the orthodontic work that’s been completed. Your child must wear their retainer at least every night (if not 24/7, depending on their needs and the orthodontist’s recommendations).

Failing to wear the retainer can result in the teeth shifting back and needing orthodontic re-treatment.

Space Maintainers

If a child loses a baby tooth prematurely, it can wreak havoc on their occlusion. Teeth adjacent to a space will naturally shift to fill that space. When the teeth shift, they make it hard for adult teeth to come into the space properly, leading to crowding and crooked teeth. It can also make it impossible for adult teeth to enter the space, leading to an impaction.

Space maintainers are metal appliances that fit around an adjacent tooth and have an attachment that fits into the space, thereby maintaining it. The space is, therefore, sufficient for the adult tooth to enter correctly.

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Why Does My Child Need Early Orthodontics in North Long Beach?

During a routine dental visit, your child’s dentist might notice an alignment issue with their teeth or jaw that could cause long-term problems. If they notice any of the following, they’ll likely refer your child to a Bixby Knolls orthodontist for an evaluation:

  • Malocclusion (open bite, cross bite, overbite, underbite)
  • Narrow jaw
  • Protruding teeth
  • Rotated teeth
  • Crowding

Early orthodontic treatment can make Phase II treatment (full braces or Invisalign® clear aligners) easier and faster. It can also eliminate the need for Phase II treatment during the teen years or adulthood.

What Are the Benefits of Early Orthodontic Treatment?

Early orthodontics in Bixby Knolls can improve your child’s quality of life by increasing their confidence and self-esteem. Repairing dental issues, like a crooked smile, can even help decrease social anxiety in some cases. Other benefits of early orthodontic treatment include the following:

  • Bite correction
  • Prevention of TMJ disorder
  • Preservation of healthy tooth structure
  • Prevention of severe tooth damage
  • Closing gaps between teeth
  • Breaking bad habits (like thumb-sucking)
  • Correcting mouth breathing issues
  • Maintaining space for the healthy eruption of permanent teeth
  • Making it easier to practice good oral hygiene at home
  • Improving the child’s ability to speak
  • Making eating more comfortable
  • Preventing painful toothaches
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Is My Child a Good Candidate for Early Orthodontics?

Nearly any child with malocclusion issues is a good candidate for Phase I orthodontic treatment. Your child’s Bixby Knolls orthodontist can help treat issues such as:

  • Front crossbite
  • Back crossbite
  • Flared front teeth
  • Open bite
  • Overbite
  • Underbite
  • Spaces between the teeth
  • Crowding
  • Crooked teeth
  • Thumb/finger-sucking habits

What Happens at My Child’s First Orthodontic Visit?

During the initial orthodontic visit, your child will get to know their North Long Beach orthodontist. The orthodontist will evaluate the child’s dentition, take x-rays and intraoral images, and take some impressions. Then, they’ll create a treatment plan for your child.

Once you understand your child’s treatment plan, you’ll meet with our front office team to set up appointments and discuss payments.

Once you understand your child’s treatment plan, you’ll meet with our front office team to set up appointments and discuss payments.

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Does Your Child Need Orthodontic Treatment?

Every child should receive an orthodontic evaluation by age seven. The evaluation will help identify potential malocclusion issues that require treatment. Or you may find out that your child doesn’t need early orthodontic care. Regardless of the outcome, you can rest assured that your child is getting their oral health needs cared for and will receive the treatment they need if and when they need it.

Early Orthodontic Treatment Contributes to A Lifetime Of Good Oral Health

Contact Orthodontics of Bixby Knolls to learn more about orthodontic treatment for your children. Contact us using our online contact form or call our team at (562) 414-5203

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