Early Treatment

Excellent Care for Birmingham’s Youngest Patients

Many of the doctors and staff at PT Orthodontics are parents and we know how challenging it can be to find high quality care for your children. For families around the Birmingham area, from Jasper to Pell City, we are committed to providing the level of care to you that we would expect for ourselves!

PT Ortho is proud to be a top Alabama orthodontic provider. Our goal is to make sure you have the information you need to keep your kid’s smiles healthy and strong. Read on to find out more about early treatment, also called Phase I, and when your child should visit our office!

When Should Your Child See Our Orthodontists?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children receive a screening by age 7. It is important to note that early screening does not mean your child needs treatment. In most cases, treatment does not start at this time. Our initial exam will give the doctor a chance to track growth and changes in your child’s bite, and determine the most efficient treatment plan.

When Does the Actual Treatment Start?

Normally all permanent teeth are present between ages 9 and 14 and treatments can begin shortly after. For most situations, this age is ideal because the jaw is still malleable and permanent teeth have erupted.

What Are Common Treatments for Younger Patients?

Remember that the majority of bad bites – known as malocclusions – will start treatment later than age 7. In particularly severe cases and some specific problems, our doctors may recommend beginning sooner. Some of the most common examples are:

crossbiteSevere Cross-Bite – A condition in which the upper teeth fall inside the lower teeth when the jaw is closed. We may choose to use a device known as a palatal expander to slowly widen the upper jaw. This virtually painless appliance can help prevent more complex treatments later, such as jaw surgery.

crowdingTeeth Overcrowding – If your child’s jaws are too small to comfortably fit all of his or her permanent teeth, our doctors may use a palatal expander to increase the space for incoming teeth, or extract teeth to provide the required space. Again, these treatments will likely prevent the need for more complicated care in the future.

protrusionProtruding Teeth & Under Bites – Teeth that stick out are prone to chipping and breaking and may negatively impact self-image. Speech and chewing problems may arise in severe cases and may ultimately require surgery to correct. Our doctors may use headgear and other orthodontic appliances in an effort to remedy the problem and avoid surgery.

Stop Bad Habits Early

Almost every child will develop a bad habit at some point in their lives, growing out of many naturally. There are two childhood habits that can affect the health and well-being of your kids and that should be identified and stopped as soon as possible.


Thumb sucking is a common and often underestimated habit that can result in development issues, causing speech problems, open bites and changes in the jaw.

Mouth breathing refers to a child who keeps his or her mouth open for every breath. It is closely tied to the muscle functions in the face and can indicate more serious problems.

Our orthodontists have a variety of treatments available to address each of these issues and will carefully explain their recommendations to you and your child at your visit. Helping your child stay healthy now can prevent the need for costly and lengthy surgery later in life, as well as other issues with daily activities like eating and speaking.

Start Early – Schedule an Exam for Your Child Today!

Make sure your child gets a head start on a beautiful smile! Request an appointment with your nearest Birmingham area office and meet with our doctors to evaluate and protect your child’s teeth and jaw. Our convenient locations allow families all around Birmingham, Jasper, Pell City, and beyond to enjoy the professional and compassionate environment of PT Orthodontics!