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Early Orthodontic Treatment 

Common problems that may be addressed with early treatment include :

  • narrow upper jaws.
  • jaw size discrepancies.
  • thumb or finger sucking habits.
  • simple crossbites on front teeth.
  • deep bites.
  • dental drifting due to early loss of baby teeth.

Contact our clinic today to see if your child is ready to begin their orthodontic treatment.

Early Treatment Options

Some of the early treatment options which we undertake at Scope Orthodontics are outlined below.

These appliances are usually used to treat narrow upper jaws, also referred to as maxillary constriction. A narrow upper jaw often results in a crossbite on the back teeth and can be the cause of facial asymmetries. At Scope Orthodontics we use two types of plates, the Quad Helix and the RME (Rapid Maxillary Expander).

1. Quad Helix Quadhelix.png
2. RME (Rapid Maxillary Expander) RME.png

These plates are used to address size discrepancies between the upper and lower jaws. Cases where the lower jaw is too short often result in protrusive upper teeth, commonly called ‘buck teeth’.

If the lower jaw is too far forward then an ‘underbite’ may be evident.

Both of theses situations may be treated with a functional appliance. A common solution for a shorter lower jaw is the Twin Block appliance, while a Facemask in conjunction with a Quad Helix or RME appliance may be used to treat cases where the lower jaw is protrusive relative to the upper jaw.


1. Twin Block Appliance Twin Block Appliance
2. Facemask Facemask

Plates may be used to undertake relatively simple tooth movements, for example correcting a single front tooth that may be in a crossbite relationship.

Your orthodontist may also suggest using a URA to correct a ‘deep bite’. This is where the vertical overlap of the front teeth is too great, and the lower front teeth hit the gum tissue behind the upper front teeth. If this was to be left untreated it can cause permanent damage to the gum tissue in the palate, or excessive wear or chipping to the incisor teeth.

As the name suggests, these plates may be removed by the patient. However, for maximum benefit they should be worn almost full time. The only times to take your URA out are to eat, to clean your teeth, or if you are doing active sports. When not in your mouth, remember to keep your URA in the case supplied. You don’t want to lose it!


1. Upper Removable Appliance (URA)  URA.png

Habits such as thumb or finger sucking can have serious consequences on the future development of teeth and supporting bone structure. Often as a result of these habits from a young age the front teeth will not bite together, and this may cause difficulties in eating certain foods. Long term, however the severity can mean permanent deformation of the bone. For this reason we strongly recommend preventative measures to stop these types of habit as early as possible. Scope Orthodontics recommends a modified Quad Helix appliance, which is highly successful in intercepting and stopping this habit.


1. Anti-Habit Quadhelix anti-habit-quadhelix.png

If the back baby teeth are lost too early, then the remaining teeth tend to move forward into the space. This may result in overcrowding as the adult teeth start to develop and try to erupt into the mouth. This can mean the need for extraction of permanent teeth later. In order to prevent drifting at the onset, a space maintainer appliance can be fitted following the early loss of the baby teeth.


1. Space Maintainer Space-maintainer.png

Sometimes, a child's permanent teeth may develop and move in the wrong direction prior to their eruption into the mouth. This can lead to damage and potential loss of the adjacent teeth. The most common culprit is the permanent upper canine teeth, which may be out of position in 3-5% of the population. In many cases, the teeth will upright themselves if the baby canine teeth are removed early. If the orthodontist believes the position of the permanent canine teeth looks irregular, then they may recommend the removal of the baby canines to encourage this uprighting.

Another method of treatment that may be suggested is partial braces. This is usually reserved for cases where one or more of the front teeth are severely out of position and are having an adverse effect on the child in a social environment or imposing long term risks to other teeth in their current position. A short period of partial braces may be used to address the immediate problem, knowing that a full course of braces may still be required later once all of the adult teeth have erupted into the mouth.


Comprehensive orthodontics traditionally involves the placing of braces on all adult teeth to correct dental alignment, crowding and bite problems simultaneously. This method of treatment is usually the most time efficient and cost effective option.

Comprehensive treatment is usually undertaken between the ages of 11 and 15 years. This tends to be a great time to initiate this type of treatment, as children are usually undergoing a growth spurt and this can enhance orthodontic results significantly.

The traditional style of braces consists of small metal squares, called ‘brackets’, which are affixed to the outer surface of the teeth by means of specialised dental glue. The brackets are then joined together by an orthodontic wire, which produces light, gentle forces on the teeth. Over time these forces will move the teeth into the desired positions that the orthodontist has prescribed.

At Scope Orthodontics, we currently use the Damon self ligating brackets for most of our comprehensive orthodontic treatments. A great advantage to the Damon system brackets, is that the self ligating technology means they do not require coloured elastics to hold the wires to the teeth. These elastics tend to discolour quickly, cause poor hygiene (due to plaque build up) and require regular maintenance appointments.

Teeth tend to move slowly through healthy bone, and so orthodontics does take time. Modern advances in techniques and materials, such as space age wires and low friction brackets, have made modern orthodontics quicker and more comfortable than ever before.