Early Treatment

early treatment

Children sometimes may begin to show early subtle signs of orthodontic problems as they grow and develop. At Hicks and McMurphy Orthodontics, our kid friendly orthodontists and team specialize in recognizing these subtle problems with developing teeth and jaw growth.

With convenient locations in Mobile, Saraland and Grand Bay, Alabama, as well as Lucedale, Mississippi, caring for your child’s smile has never been easier!

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that your child first see an orthodontist as early as age seven. At this point our Orthodontists will evaluate whether or not your child will need early orthodontic treatment. They offer the latest kid friendly orthodontic technology available in appliances, from traditional brackets to the newer invisible braces for your child. Read below to see if early orthodontic care may be needed.

How to tell if your child may need early orthodontic treatment:

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth (your child should typically start losing teeth around age 5 or 6, and will have all their permanent teeth in around age 12-13)
  • Difficulty chewing and/or biting
  • Mouth breathing
  • Your child continues sucking his or her thumb after age five
  • Speech impediments
  • Protruding teeth (the top teeth and the bottom teeth extend away from each other)
  • Teeth that don't come together in a normal manner or even at all
  • Shifting of the jaw when your child opens or closes his or her mouth (crossbites)
  • Crowded front teeth around age seven or eight


Orthodontics is not merely to improve the aesthetics of your child’s smile, early orthodontic treatment can also improve a bad bite, also know as Malocclusions. A child’s bad bite may occur as a result of tooth or jaw misalignment. This may affect the way they smile, chew, clean their teeth or feel about their smile.

Why should malocclusions be treated?

According to studies by the American Association of Orthodontists, untreated malocclusions can result in a variety of problems. Crowded teeth are more difficult to properly brush and floss, which may contribute to tooth decay and/or gum disease. Protruding teeth are more susceptible to accidental chipping. Crossbites can result in unfavorable growth and uneven tooth wear. Openbites can result in tongue-thrusting habits and speech impediments.

If your child is 7 years of age or if you feel that your child may benefit from early orthodontic treatment, contact one of our local orthodontic offices to schedule your appointment. We look forward to seeing you and your child!

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