It has been proposed that all types of malocclusions are best treated early. Realisitically however, not all orthodontic problems benefit from early treatment. The types of problems that do benefit are those that are likely to lead to damage to teeth or to unfavourable growth of the jaws.

Crossbites of the teeth usually benefit from early orthodontic treatment. These are best treated with plates and occasionally braces. A plate is a removable appliance made of acrylic. Early treatment can be indicated to prevent mandibular deviation on closure, space loss and wear faceting of teeth. Early treatment can avoid more complicated, sometimes surgical correction if growth is complete. Treatment should take around 6-10 months including the retention period.

Early retraction of permanent upper incisors can improve esthetics and reduce the incidence of trauma to the upper teeth. Simple retraction of the upper teeth can be treated with plates or sometimes braces.

Thumb and finger sucking habits can cause increased protrusion of the upper teeth, an anterior open bite or a posterior crossbite. An effective way of breaking the habit and correcting the malocclusion is to use a plate and sometimes braces.