Early Orthodontics in Palo Alto

Early orthodontics can help ensure your child’s oral health is at its best during their formative years. Merna Tajaddod Orthodontics offers some of the best early orthodontics services in Palo Alto, CA.

What Is Phase 1 Orthodontic Treatment?

Early orthodontic treatment, or Phase 1, is appropriate for children who still have all or some of their primary teeth. Early orthodontics can help prevent the improper growth or misalignment of permanent teeth, as well as reduce the likelihood of impacted teeth.

This treatment is all about prevention. We can correct crooked teeth or crowded teeth by turning to Phase 1 braces for children between 6 and 10 years old. We recommend that you bring a child as young as 6 for a checkup to head off orthodontic concerns before they start. Our youngest patient in 2022 was just 5 years old.

During Phase 1 orthodontic treatment, we check for the following:

Protruding teeth
Bite complications
Jaw issues, like narrow jaw
Good relationship between the upper and lower jaws

To treat these issues, we can provide a variety of treatment options to make room for permanent teeth. 

Palate Expander

For most patients receiving Phase 1 orthodontic treatment in Palo Alto, we turn to a palate expander, which is a custom-fit device used to widen the roof of the child’s mouth to create more space.

This expander will stay in place for the length of the expansion period and then an additional three months to allow the upper teeth to stabilize. Most children wear a palate expander for four to six months.

Close up of a young girl smiling with braces

Partial Braces

Phase 1 braces are the first braces your child will wear. They are suitable for children with certain dental issues, including these:

Protruding teeth
Severe crowding of teeth

Partial braces can prevent these issues from getting worse. They can even help correct the problem so that when your child’s permanent teeth come in, they align correctly and without crowding one another. Aligned, well-spaced permanent teeth may prevent future issues with wisdom teeth.  

Braces offer other benefits as well. They can improve confidence and help with speech. Braces can also promote good oral health. By straightening the teeth, braces make it easier to brush and floss properly, reducing the buildup of bacteria and the risk of oral health issues.


Phase 1 retainers can help maintain the position of your child’s teeth and arch width after other Phase 1 treatments while still allowing space for erupting permanent teeth. Different types of retainers address different oral conditions, and children typically wear their retainers for about a year.`

Young boy wearing a retainer in front of dentist's logo
Invisalign cases and flyer displayed on a table

Invisalign First

Invisalign First is an orthodontic treatment designed for children between the ages of 6 and 10. It uses a series of clear, removable aligners to correct early orthodontic problems, such as overcrowding, spacing, and bite issues. The aligners are custom-made to fit your child's teeth and gradually shift them into the desired position. Invisalign First is an effective and discreet alternative to traditional metal braces, and it can help promote proper dental and jaw development in young children. We are a Delta Dental Invisalign provider.

Learn More About Invisalign First

Why Is a Visit to Merna Tajaddod Orthodontics Before Age 7 Essential?

The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that all children visit an orthodontist by the age of 7 for an examination. Baby teeth can look straight, but underlying issues may be present that will prevent permanent teeth from erupting as they should. Merna Tajaddod Orthodontics in Palo Alto is the leading provider of orthodontic treatments in the area. Dr. Merna Tajaddod, a board-certified orthodontist truly cares for her patients, and it shows! Our friendly and experienced staff is ready to help your child with a dedication to building lasting relationships. We offer a high-tech, comfortable and welcoming environment for patients of all ages. Whether you choose a palatal expander appliance, Invisalign First, or braces for your child's early orthodontic treatment, your child will receive excellent results at Merna Tajaddod Orthodontics in Palo Alto.

You should make an appointment today for a complimentary early orthodontic consultation with Merna Tajaddod Orthodontics, who has successfully treated more than 3,000 early orthodontics cases, if you see that your child experiences one or more of the following:

Sucks their thumb
Has facial asymmetry
Has difficulty speaking
Breathes through their mouth
Has a jaw that makes sounds
Loses baby teeth late or early
Grinds or clenches their teeth
Grinds or clenches their teeth
Has difficulty biting or chewing
Bites their cheek or the roof of their mouth
Has crowded, misspaced, or blocked-out teeth
Protruding teeth
Has teeth that do not meet or that meet abnormally
Has a jaw that appears too far forward or too far back
Young boy holding gift cards in front of dentist's logo

Timing is Everything

Baby teeth set the foundation for permanent teeth, so it’s important for you to bring your child to Merna Tajaddod Orthodontics before age 7 or when you are concerned about your child’s teeth or bite. By the age of 7, your child will have enough permanent teeth for Dr. Tajaddod to evaluate essential criteria like how their jaws work together and whether their teeth are properly aligned. Timing is everything — especially when it comes to your child’s orthodontic treatment.

“Early” treatment, also called “interceptive” treatment, means treatment that is performed while some baby teeth are still present. This early treatment is designed to prevent complex dental and skeletal concerns that may be more difficult to resolve later in life.

Our Phase 1 Results

By turning to expansion appliances, space maintainers, Invisalign First and braces, Dr. Merna Tajaddod, a board-certified orthodontist, can help prepare space for permanent teeth and improve severe malocclusion (misaligned bite). This prevents difficult problems at a later age and makes it possible to treat the patient with non-extraction orthodontics. Our results speak for themselves as you can see by viewing our numerous before and after images of our amazing Phase 1 cases.

See Our Phase 1 Smile Gallery
Young girl with braces standing in front of dentist's logo

Outcomes of an Initial Orthodontic Consultation

There are generally three outcomes of an initial consultation:

  1. No treatment is expected to be necessary
  2. Treatment may be needed in the future, so the child will be re-checked periodically while the face and jaws continue to grow
  3. There is a problem that lends itself to early treatment

While there are many orthodontic problems that orthodontists agree are best treated after all permanent teeth have come in, early treatment can be in a patient’s best interests if their problem is one that could become more serious over time if left untreated. The goal of early treatment is to intercept the developing problem, eliminate the cause, guide the growth of facial and jaw bone structure, and provide adequate space for incoming permanent teeth. After the completion of Phase 1 / early orthodontics treatment, a resting phase will follow. A patient may require a second course of treatment after all permanent teeth have come in to move those teeth into the best position.

Early orthodontics can help ensure your child’s oral health is at its best during their formative years. Although referrals are always appreciated, please remember that you do not need a referral to schedule your consultation with us.

Visit Merna Tajaddod Orthodontics Today!

Early orthodontics can help prevent complex dental concerns that may be more difficult to resolve later in life. At Merna Tajaddod Orthodontics, you can get help from an experienced Phase 1 orthodontist in Palo Alto.

We have treated more than 3,000 early orthodontics cases, and we have the dedication it takes to produce excellent results in kids’ non-extraction orthodontics. We have provided Phase 1 / early orthodontic treatment to children from Palo Alto, Mountain View, Menlo Park, Los Altos, Sunnyvale, and Redwood City. Families from the East Bay and South Bay have also traveled to our practice to benefit from our early orthodontic expertise.

Young girl smiling, standing in front of dentist's logo

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Location & Hours

Merna Tajaddod Orthodontics

4157 El Camino Way, Suite A
Palo Alto, CA 94306
(650) 854-8888
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