When is early orthodontic treatment needed? Orthodontist in Santa Clarita, CA Dr. Megan LeCornu, Board Certified Orthodontist in Santa Clarita, CA, answers a top question orthodontists are asked about getting braces in Santa Clarita. When is early orthodontic treatment needed?

Hi, guys. We’re continuing on our journey answering the top 10 most frequently asked questions to an orthodontist. The next question that I’m going to answer is regarding early treatment. The way that I get asked the question is this. “I see all of these kids in my daughter’s class that have braces on and they don’t even have their permanent teeth in. What is with that?” What these parents, I think, are asking me is, “What is early treatment and when is it needed?” First of all, it’s important that you realize that not all patients need early treatment. If you’re bringing your child in for a consultation, don’t automatically assume that they’re going to need treatment because that’s simply not the case. The reality is, as I mentioned earlier, we really like to make sure that we keep treatment as short as possible so that patient’s time in braces is as efficient as possible.

That being said, there are some situations that do benefit from early treatment. Those situations are patients that have some kind of growth problem. If the size of the top jaw and the size of the bottom jaw aren’t matching up properly and it’s leading to bite problems, those are things that we like to intervene early. The reason for that is because the sutures in the upper jaw start to fuse around the age of 10. What that means is we can actually alter the growth pattern of the upper jaw before this age. What type of cases do we like to treat early? First of all, our patients with underbites where they have basically their bottom teeth in front of the top teeth like this. We like to intervene and fix those early because we can actually use special appliances to pull the upper jaw forward and improve the balance between the top jaw and the bottom jaw. Oftentimes, this improves the patient’s profile. When we do this early, the treatment is more stable and oftentimes, if the patient is very severe, it can eliminate the need for jaw surgery in the future so this is really important.

The other thing we like to treat early is crossbites where the upper jaw is too skinny for the lower jaw. Honestly, this is something that we see pretty frequently. When we catch this early, we can basically expand the upper arch so that it matches the lower arch and if there’s any shifting of the jaw because the bite wasn’t fitting together properly, all of that can be corrected just by correcting the crossbite. That is something that we can treat early. It is very, very efficient and actually doesn’t even require braces. Another thing we like to treat early is if we have severe protrusion. What I mean by that is where the top teeth are sticking out really far from the bottom teeth. The reason we like to catch that early is because those patients have a higher risk of traumatizing or damaging those top teeth. Those are their permanent teeth, their forever teeth. If you have a child that has the front teeth really far out from the bottom teeth, it might be worth bringing them in to prevent damage that may happen if they hit those teeth.

Lastly, we really do like to treat patients that are being made fun of at school. Oftentimes, kids are mean. If there is a situation where one tooth is in a wrong position or there is a big space and they’re being made fun of, we do treat those patients because at the end of the day, childhood is tough, kids are mean, and we like to make sure that all the patients feel confident in their own smile. We usually do just a small interceptive treatment to deal with that issue that’s causing the patient a tough time at school and then we wait and we do all the rest of the treatment later when they’re older.

Those are the four reasons at our office that we do early treatment, what we call phase one treatment. It is important for you to know not everybody needs it but if a child does need it, oftentimes doing an early treatment can make things a lot easier down the road for everybody including the patient, the parent, and obviously the orthodontist as well. I hope I answered that question regarding early treatment. If you guys ever have any questions, you can always go to our website at We have a little area on there regarding early treatment. If you ever have any questions regarding your patient, we’re always happy to take a look. You can call our office. You can find all that information on the website. I hope you guys have a wonderful evening. It’s looking really nice here in sunny California. The sun’s starting to set and we have no rain for a little bit so we like it. All right, guys. Have a good day.

For more information on this topic can contact Dr. Megan LeCornu at:

Gilbertson & LeCornu Orthodontics
23206 Lyons Avenue, Suite 206
Santa Clarita, CA 91321
(661) 259-2388

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