Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > Early Treatment for Malocclusion
Growth modification (early treatment) is part of the first phase of
two-stage orthodontic treatment of children with
malocclusion (poor bite). Growth modification is only
possible when bones are still growing. It is most effective during children's
Orthodontists use growth modification devices (appliances) to change
the position, shape, length, or width of the jawbone(s). Some common devices
Ideal timing of treatment varies depending on what the condition is, when
adult teeth come in, and how much growth is needed to correct the
malocclusion. Many children who begin growth modification in second or third
grade are finished with orthodontic treatment before they begin high
Children are often more cooperative than teenagers when it comes to
wearing their appliances for a certain number of hours a day. And children don't
seem to mind closer parental supervision as much as teens do. But the
parent and the health professional must also beware of "burning out" the child
on treatment before the second stage of treatment—braces—begins.
Because the jaw continues to grow during childhood and adolescence,
growth modification doesn't always last. Some teens and adults keep their new
jaw structure and size, while others have short-lived improvement. Relapse can also occur after treatment with braces alone.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerWilliam F. Hohlt, DDS - Orthodontics
Current as ofNovember 14, 2014
Current as of:
November 14, 2014
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & William F. Hohlt, DDS - Orthodontics
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
To learn more, visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.