Young girl with long curly blonde hair wearing a dress and smiling.

Early Treatment


Kurt Kavanaugh Orthodontics happily provides orthodontic care for the entire family. Our orthodontist specializes not only in adult treatment but children’s orthodontic treatment as well! With offices conveniently located in both Kansas City and Sedalia, MO, we can begin the process of creating a healthy smile for your child.

When Should We Visit A Children’s Orthodontist?

According to the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), children should visit their orthodontist by the age of seven. These early screenings allow for your children’s orthodontist to evaluate your child’s mouth when enough adult teeth have emerged. At this point, misalignment and teeth crowding issues can be detected, and you can begin planning treatment options. While we recommend visiting your Kansas City orthodontist at an early age, treatment typically does not begin until later.

Benefits of Early Orthodontic Treatment

In these early examinations, we will be able to spot any abnormalities in the growth patterns of the teeth or jawbone, as well as any other concerns that may cause issues at a later age. The purpose of early treatment is to allow us to guide healthy development of your child’s teeth and jaw and prevent any related emergences of more complex conditions. During their preliminary examination, Dr. Kurt Kavanaugh will determine if and when your child should begin orthodontic treatment.


Specifically, early treatment can:

  • Guide permanent teeth into an ideal position while in early stages of development

  • Support and assess healthy jawbone development

  • Lower the risk of damage to protruding teeth or buck teeth

  • Begin to correct improper bite or misplaced teeth

  • Improve facial symmetry


Early examinations and treatment do not only improve the appearance of your child’s smile, but they are very beneficial for overall health as well. Improper teeth and jaw closure, also known as malocclusions, can negatively affect the way your child chews, smiles and cleans their teeth. Finally, early treatment can reduce the effort and duration of orthodontic treatment such as metal braces or Invisalign. By catching orthodontic issues before they increase in severity, your Kansas City orthodontist can save you both time and money.

Signs Your Child May Need Early Treatment

As mentioned, all children should visit their orthodontist for a preliminary examination around the age of seven. Additionally, there are also certain behaviors and symptoms that may indicate a need for early orthodontic treatment. They include:


  • Grinding or clenching teeth

  • Biting into the cheeks or roof of mouth

  • Thumb sucking for a prolonged period

  • Breathing through mouth only/most of the time

  • Difficulty chewing

  • Early or late loss of teeth


Regardless of the age of your child, please contact your Kansas City orthodontist if you notice any of the above behaviors, as they could be indicators of underlying orthodontic problems.

Contact Your Kansas City Children’s Orthodontist

We understand that your child’s health is of utmost importance, which is why we encourage you to set up appointments early! Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions about early treatment, braces, Invisalign, or any other orthodontic treatments. You can reach our main office in Kansas City at (816) 420-8100 and our satellite office in Sedalia at (660) 829-2900. You may also fill out an appointment request online at any time. We look forward to working with you and your family soon!