Designed with Little Smiles in Mind: Your Guide to Early Orthodontic Treatment


Sponsored by Smiles Orthodontics in Wichita, KS.

As a parent, you want to provide your child with only the best. If you have been told that your child requires early orthodontic treatment, it’s natural to have some questions. Here orthodontist and mom Dr. Kristen Sander from Smiles Orthodontics will answer some of your top questions regarding orthodontic treatment in young children.


Not all children require early treatment; many kids are evaluated and monitored periodically until the right time to start. However, some kids do need a two-phase treatment plan. Why, you may ask? A short first phase can direct jaw growth and tooth development to optimize the facial skeleton and alignment of the teeth. It can also improve self-esteem and confidence during the most important formative years of a child’s life.


The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children have their first visit when permanent teeth start coming in, usually around age 7. However, consulting with an orthodontist does not always mean treatment will begin immediately. We will discuss treatment options and timing based on your child’s unique situation. Treatment may include monitoring until more permanent teeth have erupted, removing baby teeth to encourage permanent tooth growth, or using two-phase orthodontia to intercept developing problems. Most abnormal bite issues are evident in children as young as 6 – 7 years old, and correction is usually done between the ages of 8 – 14 years old. This is the optimal time to adjust a bite issue, as the bones are still growing and can be more easily guided by our treatment.


Many people think that braces are only for kids or teenagers who have crooked teeth. In reality, we use braces and other types of orthodontic appliances to correct not just tooth alignment, but also malocclusion. Malocclusion, or a “bad bite”, is very common in children, and our goal is to correct it at the right time based on your child’s individual growth.

There are many types of malocclusion, with the most common being:

  • Overbite/overjet (upper teeth or jaw are pushed forward)
  • Underbite (lower teeth or jaw are pushed forward)
  • Crossbite (upper tooth/teeth are trapped behind lower tooth/teeth)
  • Open bite (upper and lower teeth fail to make contact with each other).

Many of these bite issues are growth-related, meaning they can be progressive if no intervention is done. They also can impair function, making it difficult for the child to effectively chew or even create proper speech sounds.


We are specialists in our field, trained to select the appliance best suited to your child’s needs. Some options include:

  • Palatal Expander: A palatal expander attaches to the upper teeth. It includes a keyhole where a special key is inserted to turn on a schedule we provide. This process gradually widens the palate with minimal discomfort or disruption to your child’s lifestyle.
  • Braces: Braces are used to move the teeth and may be necessary if teeth are rotated, spaced or misaligned. Early treatment usually involves a limited number of brackets to provide early correction of crooked teeth.
  • Retainer/Removable appliance: Different types of retainers may be used to maintain or correct different problems. They may be worn full time or just at night depending on the goal to be achieved.


  • Ensures proper chewing and biting
  • Intercepts skeletal problems such as underbite, severe overbite, crossbite
  • Guides jaw growth & creates space to alleviate crowding
  • Minimizes the need for corrective jaw surgery or tooth extractions
  • Helps with speech and breathing
  • Reduces the length and cost of clear aligner or braces treatment in the teenage years
  • Improves self-esteem and confidence


At Smiles Orthodontics, we are here to answer all your questions regarding early care for your child. Some “red flags” to help you determine if you might want to consider early orthodontic treatment include:

  • Difficulty biting or chewing
  • Thumb-Sucking
  • Crowded or misaligned teeth
  • Protruding teeth
  • Jaws that are set forward or back
  • Grinding or clenching teeth
  • Mouth-breathing

As parents ourselves, Dr. Gorantla and I know how important it is to find caring and capable providers for your child. That is why we are committed to providing the highest quality of care and treating your child as if they were our own. While orthodontists love to see bright, beautiful smiles on our patients’ faces, we love most to know that our patients have received excellent treatment that will keep their bite healthy for a lifetime.


We are proud to offer free smile assessments. During this consultation we will:

  • Review your child’s dental and medical history
  • Perform a complete oral exam
  • Determine if early treatment is necessary
  • Create a customized treatment plan
  • Discuss flexible payment plan options and insurance benefits.

Call us at 316-684-5184 or visit to schedule your first visit with us today!

Dr. Suman Gorantla and Dr. Kristen Sander are orthodontic specialists committed to providing excellent family-friendly orthodontic care. Dr. Gorantla grew up in India, and is so passionate about orthodontics that he completed training in both India and the US! He and his wife Praveena enjoy raising their 2 young boys in Wichita; when he’s not at work, Dr. G spends time with family. Dr. Sander is a Wichita native, proud to be helping patients in her hometown. She and her husband John have 3 small children and when she’s not sculpting smiles, Dr. Sander loves exploring all Wichita’s family fun.

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