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How old should my child be for their first orthodontic visit?

By Davis April 22, 2013

All Kids Should Get their First Orthodontic Appointment No Later Than Age 7!

Crooked Teeth Aren’t Always a Sign for Orthodontic Treatment

To have a great smile that lasts a lifetime, your child needs teeth and jaws that are properly aligned — in other words, a healthy bite. The American and Canadian Associations of Orthodontists recommend that your child get an orthodontic check-up no later than age 7. By then, the permanent back-bite is beginning to be established, and your child’s teeth have developed enough to where subtle problems can be spotted with jaw growth and emerging teeth.

Choosing the Optimal Time for Early Orthodontic Treatment

While orthodontic treatment most often begins between the ages of 9 and 14, and we strive to do as little early treatment as possible, some orthodontic problems are much easier to correct if they’re treated early.

If it appears that orthodontic treatment will be needed, we will advise you as to the ideal time to begin. This gives us the best chance to:

  • Guide jaw growth
  • Reduce the need to extract permanent teeth in the future
  • Reduce or eliminate the need for jaw surgery
  • Lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth
  • Correct harmful oral habits
  • Improve appearance and self-esteem
  • Guide permanent teeth into a more favorable position
  • Improve the way lips meet

Should some issues be detected that can wait to be treated later on, your child will be kept under regular observation in our Kid`s Club until they are ready. This allows us to continue to screen for any issues that might arise with jaw growth or tooth eruption along the way, and allows us to select the ideal time to initiate treatment in the future.

Signs Your Child’s Bite is Off

It’s not always easy to tell when your child has an orthodontic problem. Even teeth that look straight may be hiding a problem bite. Some of these problems are often not apparent even to your family dentist, and if missed can lead to serious consequences in the future. Here are some clues that may indicate the need for orthodontic attention:

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth
  • Difficulty in chewing or biting
  • Breathing through the mouth
  • Thumb-sucking
  • Crowded, misplaced or blocked-out teeth
  • Jaws that are too far forward or back
  • Biting the cheek or biting into the roof of the mouth
  • Protruding teeth
  • Upper and lower teeth that don’t meet, or meet in an abnormal way
  • An unbalanced facial appearance
  • Grinding or clenching of the teeth

Give Your Child the Gift of a Healthy Smile

Not only do well-aligned teeth look good and feel good, they also are important to good dental health. Poorly aligned teeth can lead to dental problems. Not everyone needs orthodontic treatment. But if your child does need help, it pays to start treatment when you have the greatest chance for success. This is why we offer a complimentary initial examination, and do not require a referral to screen for potential issues at this critical age.  Make sure your child receives an orthodontic check-up by one of our certified orthodontic specialists no later than age 7.

 

Photo provided by the American Association of Orthodontists.