Dr Ernest A. Rider, DDS

3535 Randolph Road #206R,

Charlotte, NC 28211

(704) 366-8936


Early orthopedic treatment for young children

Parents fully understand and appreciate the benefit of having their children's vision, hearing, heart condition and dental development carefully evaluated early in life but they and their pediatrician, fail to appreciate the possibility that a health related connection associated with facial development can be a barometer of the general health of their child.

The modern paradigm of parameters associated with children's health includes early detection of subtle dentofacial characteristics that reveal health issues here-to-for not considered related to good health.

Dr Rider provides a free developmental assessment for children of all ages, ideally beginning by age three. Please call for an appointment. The value of the health related knowledge and experience available to you is priceless.

At what age should a child first visit the orthodontist?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that most children should have an orthodontic screening by age 7.  However, Dr. Rider prefers to see children, including those without visually evident problems, at a much earlier age. This is an opportunity for parents to receive a guiding hand enabling them to have a clearer understanding of their role as guardians of their child's dentofacial health now and in the future. Unfortunately, most parents are unaware of this important parameter directly connected to the general health and dentofacial development of their children simply because neither their pediatrician or pediatric dentist understand the connection.

Ideally most children should be seen by age 3-4 by a well-trained craniofacial orthodontist skilled in the diagnosis and treatment of factors affecting dentofacial growth and the general health of children.  Dr. Rider is the only craniofacial orthodontist in the Charlotte area and he is willing, if requested, to help parents interested in this concept create a sound protocol to help their child develop habits that promote good health and good facial development.

There is no charge for this screening service. 

Why are children being evaluated at such an early age? 

Young children receive vision and hearing screening tests at a very early age to help identify any barriers that might impair a child's ability to learn and a treatment protocol is suggested.  Early identification and treatment can prevent or at least alleviate many potential leaning problems.  The same rationale applies to screening for factors that adversely affect good dentofacial development.  If during our free screening evaluation we detect a health-related problem that needs attention, parents will be counseled and a protocol suggested for their condiseration which may also include early dentofacial orthopedic treatment.

Does early treatment benefit all children?

Early treatment does not necessarily benefit all children, only those who need it.  That's the benefit of an early screening process.  Dr. Rider does not recommend early treatment for all children.  However, he does recommend treatment for children with dentofacial health problems that need attention at an early age, allowing their genomic potential to be fully expressed in a positive fashion that does not later require an artificial remake by orthodontic tratment or orthognathic surgery.


 “As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.” Parents and pediatric physicians are aware that early treatment of conditions such as crossed eyes, lazy eye, scoliosis, knock knees and pigeon toes can prevent the development of problems very difficult to resolve at a later age.  Historically, orthodontic treatment has always been about straight teeth and a great smile.  Withholding treatment until all the permanent teeth have erupted to begin a "tooth-related treatment" rationale is not in the best interest of most children.  The contemporary orthodontic rationale I suggest is based on the medical model designed to resolve health problems as early in life as possible in order to release the natural genetic forces and allow the patient's growth potential to be fully expressed and produce the most idealized result.  

If a child has early treatment, will this prevent the need for braces later?

Early treatment (Orthotropics) focuses on improving a child's health while idealizing good facial development by removing untoward factors that compromise good general health and dentofacial development during an important and critical early period of child development.  This proess cnnot be propery resolved by waiting for all the teeth to erupt.  The lifetime benefits of early Orthotropic treatment are far more profound than waiting to apply traditional tooth straightening braces in adolescence from both physiological and psychological aspects.  One of the benefits of early Orthotropics is that it allows the teeth to align themselves within a more idealized oral environment. This not only acts to minimize the extent of tooth straightening in adolescence it may, in some cases, even eliminate the need for traditional braces althogether.  

Do we still need to see our family dentist during orthodontic treatment?

Patients with braces and other orthodontic appliances require more effort to keep their teeth and gums clean. Because we want to insure the highest level of dental health, we recommend you see your family dentist for regular check ups.

In addition to a beautiful new smile, what are some other benefits?

Braces can improve function of the bite and teeth, improve ability to clean the teeth, prevent wear on the teeth, and increase bone and gum support which in turn, the longevity of natural teeth over a lifetime.

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3535 Randolph Road #206R, Charlotte, NC 28211   |   (704) 366-8936

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