If early orthodontic treatment is indicated, the orthodontist can guide the growth of the jaw and help direct incoming permanent teeth. Early orthodontic treatment can also regulate the width of the upper and lower dental arches, gain space for permanent teeth, reduce the need for permanent tooth extractions, reduce likelihood of impacted permanent teeth, correct thumb-sucking, and help with abnormal swallowing or speech problems.
Complete orthodontic treatment usually begins just before the final baby molars are lost. This timing is recommended in order to make the best use of the space difference between the final baby teeth and permanent teeth. The most active period of jaw growth usually occurs at this same time of development.