The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that all children have an orthodontic check-up no later than age seven. An orthodontist can detect subtle problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth while some baby teeth are still present. Although your child's teeth may appear to be straight, there could be a problem that only an orthodontist can see. A check-up may reveal that your child's bite is fine, or it may show that early treatment is indicated to prevent or intercept more serious problems from developing. Early treatment may also make treatment at a later age such as full braces or Invisalign® shorter and less complicated.

Preventive Care

You can give your child the best opportunity for a beautiful, healthy smile by taking him or her for an early orthodontic evaluation. If indicated, early treatment (also referred to as Phase I treatment) will give Dr. Joe the opportunity to:

  • guide jaw growth,
  • lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth,
  • correct harmful oral habits,
  • improve appearance,
  • guide permanent teeth into a more favorable position, and/or
  • create a more pleasing arrangement of teeth, lips and face.

Phase I treatment, if indicated, is usually initiated between the ages of seven and ten and typically lasts about twelve to eighteen months. The primary objective for Phase I treatment is to address issues during a period of significant growth for the child. Even with ideal cooperation and favorable growth response, a patient who has had Phase I treatment will often still benefit from Phase II treatment (full braces or Invisalign®) at a later stage. However, Phase II treatment for such patients is generally less involved and may be completed faster than if it were done without Phase I treatment beforehand.

Preventive Care

Common Concerns

Common Concerns


Class II Bite:

Class II bites are those in which the upper jaw and teeth project out in front of the lower jaw and teeth. This is also called an “overjet.” A Class II bite is typically inherited, but other factors such as thumbsucking can contribute to this type of bite as well.

Class III Bite:

Class III bites are those in which the lower jaw and teeth project out in front of the upper jaw and teeth. A Class III bite is typically inherited.


Crossbites usually result from a constricted upper jaw or unusually wide lower jaw. A narrow upper jaw will often force a patient to move the lower jaw forward or to the side when closing into a stable bite. When closed in this accommodated position, the lower teeth are located outside the upper teeth. This posturing may result in an incorrect functional position of the lower jaw with accompanying facial symmetry.


Crowding of teeth is the most common problem associated with the need for orthodontic care. Although many factors contribute to crowding, this issue usually stems from a discrepancy between the space available in each jaw and the size of the teeth. Aside from aesthetic considerations, poor alignment of teeth may be associated with periodontal problems and an increased risk of dental decay due to difficulty in maintaining proper oral hygiene.

Deep Bite:

A deep bite, often called an "overbite", is generally due to a discrepancy between the length of the upper and lower jaws. This discrepancy often results in the excessive eruption of either the upper or lower incisors or both. Associated issues include the excessive display of gum tissue, lip protrusion or entrapment, biting the roof of the mouth, and incisor wear.

Open Bite:

An open bite is one in which the upper and lower teeth do not overlap. Typically, this is due to jaw disharmony or persistent habits such as thumbsucking or posturing of the tongue between the front teeth (also known as a "tongue thrust"). Early assessment and intervention is often critical to the successful correction of an open bite through orthodontics.


Spaces between teeth are another concern commonly associated with the need for orthodontic care. Like crowding, spacing may be related to a tooth-to-jaw size disharmony. Gum tissue attachments called "frenae" are also a common cause of spacing between front teeth. Other contributing factors include incisor protrusion, atypical or unusually narrow teeth, and missing or impacted teeth.

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