What Is Early Treatment Part II

In a previous blog post I discussed the benefits of early orthodontic treatment, and answered the question I hear most often, “Why are we starting treatment when my child still has baby teeth?” A question I get asked almost as frequently is, “Why are we starting treatment when my child ONLY has baby teeth? Currently, the youngest patient in our practice is three years old and we have a two-year-old joining the ranks soon! So, why start orthodontic treatment on patients this young? For all the same reasons I listed in the previous blog post: https://warsaworthodontics.com/what-is-early-treatment/

  1. Does the child have a thumb sucking habit?
  2. Is the child a mouth breather?
  3. Does the child have a tongue thrust?
  4. Is there anterior and posterior crossbite?
  5. Does severe crowding exist?
  6. Can we intervene to change the child’s growth pattern?

Thumb sucking, mouth breathing, tongue thrusting, anterior and posterior crossbites, and severe crowding. All of these things change a child’s growth pattern whether they have all baby teeth, some baby teeth and some permanent teeth, or all permanent teeth.

What changed my treatment philosophy from the standard, not starting treatment until age seven, to sometimes starting treatment when they are as young as two? Several years ago, I traveled to a course with a colleague. The doctor teaching this course was starting treatment on two and three year old children. That course was the beginning of my journey to where I am today. I went on to take many more courses addressing this subject. I also began to question the growth and development of my own two children. I firmly believe that the earliest intervention is the best intervention for long-term health. My first teacher in this method often says, “If a child needs glasses, do we wait until a certain age to get them glasses so they can see better? No. So why should we wait to treat children until some permanent teeth or all of their permanent teeth are in?”

I have learned that children are much more resilient than we give them credit for. When I started my own daughter at age four, I was more nervous than she was! Grace has done wonderfully! I am so thankful that I have changed the direction of growth now, rather than waiting for it to progress necessitating more extensive treatment later.

The following photos are progress photos that show correction of an underbite when a child has all baby teeth. Also note the dramatic changes to the facial structure.

Early Treatment Progress Photos

Treatment time: 3 out of 18 months


Treatment time: 3 out of 18 months

Treatment time: 6 out of 18 months