Is Early Orthodontic Treatment Worth It?


The benefits of early orthodontic treatment for certain dental conditions has led to an increase in the number of elementary-aged children receiving braces. Although early orthodontic treatment is not necessary for every dental issue that requires braces, parents who are not sure whether early orthodontic treatment will be beneficial to their child should contact Valderrama Orthodontics to schedule their child a complimentary consultation.

Multi-Phase Orthodontics – Explained

Phase One

When a two-phase approach is necessary, Phase One typically involves addressing issues like overcrowding, jaw development and problems related to the child’s bite, which are frequently addressed using space maintainers, partial braces and expanders.

  • Partial braces – during early orthodontic intervention, partial braces move teeth that are spaced, rotated or misaligned. These partial braces generally consist of four to six brackets that may be placed on the lower and/or upper front teeth.
  • Palatal expanders – an expander is used to address crowded teeth and crossbites. In addition, an expander can prevent uneven jaw growth. The expander widens the bone, which, in turn, changes the shape of the bone itself as well as the position of the teeth. A palatal expander provides the best results when it is placed while the child’s jaw is still in its developmental stage. This appliance is custom designed to fit on the child’s upper teeth. The bone at the roof of the mouth expands as the ‘screw-like’ device is turned at regular intervals during this phase of treatment. On average, an expander is worn for six months.


After Phase One is complete, there is a pause in treatment: This pause allows the child’s permanent teeth to grow in.

Phase Two

Phase Two usually begins around the age of 13 and involves the placement of upper, and lower braces. Phase Two is designed to align all of the permanent teeth.

Which Dental Conditions Require Multi-Phase Orthodontic Treatments?

Guidelines set forth by the American Association of Orthodontics indicates which dental issues are best addressed through early intervention.

Some of these conditions include:

  • overcrowding of the teeth;
  • late loss/early loss of baby teeth;
  • narrow jaws; as well as
  • discrepancies related to the child’s jaw sizes (i.e., underbite, overbite and crossbite).

At What Age Should a Child be Evaluated by an Orthodontist?

According to the American Association of Orthodontists, a child should receive an orthodontic evaluation by the time he or she reaches the age of 7. By bringing your child to Dr. Natalia Valderrama early on, she can detect subtle problems related to emerging teeth and jaw growth.

Are There Any Tell-Tale Signs That a Child Needs Early Orthodontic Treatment?

There are some signs that indicate a child needs early orthodontic treatment.

These signs include, the child:

  • has overcrowding of his or her front teeth (at 7 or 8 years of age);
  • lost his or her baby teeth too late/too early;
  • has upper and lower jaws that close improperly (outside or inside of one another);
  • frequently breathes through his or her mouth;
  • has difficulty biting and chewing properly;
  • sucks his or her thumb (after turning 5);
  • has protruding teeth; and/or
  • has a speech impediment.

Early treatment allows Dr. Natalia Valderrama to:   

  • guide the growth of the jaw and the permanent teeth;
  • correct oral habits affecting the child’s teeth;
  • improve the way the child’s lips meet;
  • lower the risk of trauma occurring to protruding front teeth; and
  • improve the child’s appearance.

The After-School Program at Valderrama Orthodontics

An early orthodontic evaluation provides your child with the best chance of a healthy, beautiful smile. Dr. Valderrama knows that each patient is unique, which is why she creates a treatment plan designed specifically for your child. Furthermore, Dr. Valderrama considers each of her patients as part of the Valderrama family. For this reason, she has implemented an After-School Program: This program aims to provide assistance to parents whose children require ongoing orthodontic treatments. Enrolling your child(ren) in the After-School Program allows for a member of Dr. Valderrama’s team to pick your child up from school and bring him or her to the office for a prescheduled orthodontic appointment. This provides parents some leniency because they can come to the office before, after or during their child’s appointment.

Valderrama Orthodontics is located in Melbourne, Florida. Dr. Natalia Valderrama offers a variety of orthodontic services to children, teens and adults. Services include early orthodontic treatment, clear braces, traditional braces, retainers, clear aligners, lingual braces and mouth guards (sports). If you are looking for an experienced, skilled and caring orthodontist, look no further: Dr. Natalia Valderrama and her staff are dedicated to providing patients in and around Melbourne, Florida, with the excellent orthodontic care they deserve. Contact the office today at 321-544-4127 to schedule a complimentary consultation.