Early Orthodontic Treatment | Braces Treatment Rocklin And Grass Valley | Cater Galante Orthodontics

Braces for kids

Establishing a good oral hygiene routine with your children is important for their teeth, overall health and wellbeing.  At Cater Galante Orthodontics, we encourage part of this routine to be coming in and seeing us for an orthodontic consultation. 

Early orthodontic consultation

The American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) recommends children have an orthodontic consultation no later than the age of seven. This enables us to identify any potential orthodontic problems that may affect your child in their teenage and adult years and recommend steps to mitigate them. 

The most common orthodontic and growth problems that benefit from early treatment procedures are: crowding, severe overbite (deep) bites, dysfunctional habits (thumb or finger sucking) and problems related to narrow jaws and a poor airway. 

If your child does need treatment it will usually occur over two phases. 

Phase one and two treatment process

The first phase of active orthodontic treatment lasts approximately six to fifteen months and occurs when permanent and baby teeth are present. The corrections made in the first phase are retained with fixed space maintainers, Hawley bite plates or other removable retainers. Patients are then placed in our growth evaluation program. This is included in the phase one fee and includes quarterly office visits along with periodic panoramic x-rays and photographs. Phase two or comprehensive treatment is started once all the permanent teeth are in place. 

Diagram: Two-Phase Orthodontic Treatment for Kids 

Two Phase Orthodontic Treatment for Kids

Occasionally, when a patient is being treated with a two-phase treatment program, the permanent teeth erupt more rapidly than anticipated. If this situation should occur, the parents will be advised at a second consultation, and the patient will continue directly into the second phase of treatment without removing the orthodontic appliance. 

Effective treatment program

Although the two-phase treatment program does appear to be more involved, in reality, it is a much more effective way to treat the problems that are present at an early age. By expanding the jaws you eliminate airway problems, eliminate the need for extractions of permanent teeth and potential jaw surgery and actually shorten the time in full braces. 

To summarize, we will use a two-phase treatment program, when it is required, because of what we are able to accomplish in altering the jaw structure and oral environment. A second phase is generally needed in 75% of the patients to finalize all the tooth positions and the bite. 


Part of your child's orthodontic treatment journey may include the use of expanders. These appliances are used to widen your child's jaw to provide sufficient room for his or her teeth to straighten. An expander is a removable appliance which you will need to manage for your child in between appointments. It comes with a small key which you need to insert into the hole of the expander to twist. We'll show you how at your child's fitting appointment. 

Book a free consultation for your child with us today at our Rocklin or Grass Valley clinic to find out if he or she could benefit from early orthodontic treatment.

  • Early treatment
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FAQs about early orthodontic treatment.

When is the best time to consider Phase one and Phase two treatments?

Phase one treatment usually starts while the child has most of his/her baby teeth and a few of his/her permanent teeth. This stage in development is usually about the age of seven. 

Phase two treatment usually occurs a number of years later. Usually we are waiting for 12-16 more permanent teeth to erupt before Phase two begins. This most commonly occurs at the age of 12 or 13. The goal of Phase two treatment is to achieve an ideal bite and to give you the smile you’ve always wanted. 

What is Full or Comprehensive Orthodontic Treatment?

This is another name for orthodontic treatment in the permanent dentition at any age. It is more commonly used when a Phase one treatment was not performed. 

Does everyone need a Phase one treatment?

Absolutely not! Only certain bites require early intervention. All others can wait until most, if not all, their permanent teeth erupt. If your child does not need Phase one treatment we will continue to monitor his/her dental and jaw growth at regular complimentary appointments until all of his/her permanent teeth have come in. 

Can I wait on Phase one/Interceptive Orthodontic Treatment until my child is older?

This is not recommended. If your child needs Phase one treatment, this usually means that he/she has a difficult problem that requires attention now. If no orthodontic action is taken, treatment may include extractions, oral surgery, increased time and costs. 

What is extraction and non-extraction therapy, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of each?

Extraction therapy (also known as serial extractions) is a technique where some teeth are removed to make room for the other teeth in your child’s mouth, usually ending in permanent teeth being removed. As many as eight teeth (baby and permanent) may be removed. 

Non-extraction therapy is where one expands a patient’s jaw or shaves down some teeth to make everything fit. As non-extraction doctors, Cater and Galante prefer to expand the jaw to make room for all your child’s permanent teeth.

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