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What Is Phase 1?

While there is no exact age for children to begin orthodontic treatment, Dr. Melissa Roberto and the American Association of Orthodontists recommends visiting an orthodontist around age seven.  By this age, most children have a mix of baby teeth and adult teeth, making it easier for the orthodontist to diagnose and correct tooth and jaw problems sooner and without surgery.

As a specialist in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, Dr. Melissa Roberto is not only able to diagnose misalignment in the teeth but recognize imbalances in jaw growth and development.  Essentially, while orthodontics entails the management of tooth movement, dentofacial orthopedics involves the guidance of facial growth and development, which occurs largely during childhood.  This allows us at Rockaway Orthodontics to devise a treatment plan to help guide facial growth and development, as well as straighten the teeth.

It is critical to correct certain growth imbalances while the patient is still actively growing. To this end, specialized appliances are frequently used at Rockaway Orthodontics, depending on what facial abnormalities are present.  This means Dr. Melissa Roberto may recommend a first phase of treatment while there are still baby teeth present, to help guide the patient’s growth and development.  While this may not eliminate the need for future braces, it does set the stage to simplify future Phase II orthodontic treatment with braces or Invisalign. In some cases, it can eliminate the need for future corrective jaw surgery by guiding the patient’s growth and re-establishing their jaw balance.

Advantages of Interceptive Treatment

Early intervention allows Dr. Melissa Roberto to correct and guide the growth of the jaw to help correct growth imbalances and allow permanent teeth to come into a better position. It allows us at Rockaway Orthodontics to regulate the width of the upper and lower jaw to create more space for crowded teeth and prevent the need to extract permanent teeth later in life. It also allows us to correct early growth imbalances, re-establishing growth harmony and potentially eliminating the need for future corrective jaw surgeries.

Signs my child might need early intervention: 

  1. Early or late loss of baby teeth
  2. Difficulty chewing or biting food
  3. Mouth breathing
  4. Finger or thumb sucking
  5. Crowded, misplaced, or blocked teeth
  6. Teeth that come together abnormally, as in:
    • a crossbite (bottom jaw is off to the side)
    • an underbite (bottom jaw is forward of the top)
    • or overjet (excessive horizontal overlap of the upper jaw out over the lower)

Early Treatment



141 US Highway 46, Ste 101
Rockaway, NJ 07866
(973) 298-5900
Monday 11am to 7pm
Tuesday 9am to 5pm
Thursday 9am to 5pm