Early Treatment

Timing is everything! When it comes to children, keeping an eye on dental and skeletal development is important. Appropriate treatment at the right time benefits your child’s overall orthodontic success. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends children visit an orthodontic specialist by age 7. This way, Dr. Meagan Struby can check to see if your child’s teeth and jawbones have a normal growth pattern or if she needs to intervene with limited orthodontic treatment.

How Do I Know If I or My Child Needs Orthodontics?


You or your child’s dentist may notice “bad bites” like those illustrated below.
Concerns like thumb-sucking, airway issues, speech problems, and early loss of teeth should also be evaluated. These can be signs that you or your child can benefit from orthodontics.


How Does Early Treatment Work?

If early treatment (also known as Phase One treatment) is recommended, Dr. Meagan Struby can guide the growth of the jaw and incoming permanent teeth while also correcting poorly-positioned teeth that have already come in. There are a variety of tools and appliances that are used in early orthodontic care. These include:

  • Expanders
  • Limited braces
  • Space maintainers
  • Jaw positioning appliances
  • Headgears
  • Retainers


There are many different tools and appliances that are used in orthodontic care. These include:

  • Braces: This is the most common type of appliance used to shift the teeth for a straighter smile. These are made of bands, wires, and brackets. These are adjusted on a monthly basis for gradual improvement.
  • Fixed Space Maintainers: These are used to help keep space open for a permanent tooth to grow in if a baby tooth is lost prematurely.
  • Aligners: These are alternatives to traditional braces. These aligners are typically made of a clear plastic that is used to gradually straighten the teeth. These are removable appliances that are typically used by adults who want a straighter smile.
  • Jaw Repositioning Appliances: This type of appliance is used to reposition the jaw so it closes properly. This can be used for patients with temporomandibular disorder.
  • Lip and Cheek Bumpers: If the lips or cheeks are putting pressure on the teeth, these bumpers can help alleviate pressure by keeping the lips and cheeks away.
  • Palatal Expander: This is used to widen the jaw arch. It is put on the roof of the mouth and applies pressure to open up the palate.
  • Retainers: These appliances are used to prevent shifting of the teeth.
  • Headgear: This appliance slows down the growth of the upper jaw and pulls back the front teeth.


Our board certified orthodontist, Dr. Meagan Struby, brings years of experience along with excellent and timely care to each of her patients in the Reno, Sparks, and Northern Nevada communities. Schedule your free consultation today at South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics to make sure your child’s smile is on its way to a perfect 10! To make an appointment, call our office or fill out an online form.