When should I take my child to see an orthodontist?

It’s a good question and one that we get all the time. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends all children get a first orthodontic check-up no later than age 7.

Typically, this is the best age to evaluate dental and facial irregularities. All of the teeth may appear straight, but there may be a problem that only an orthodontic specialist can detect during a thorough evaluation of teeth, jaw and bite. Some of the things we look for include:

  • Proper jaw growth and facial balance
  • Protruding front teeth at risk for fracture
  • Growth and development of permanent teeth (including early or late loss of baby teeth)
  • Habits (such as lip sucking, cheek biting, finger/thumb sucking or tongue thrusting)

One of the most common issues young children face is jaw growth. Look here for commons problems to watch for in growing children. Between ages 7 and 10 is a great time to correct some jaw growth issues and avoid more expensive and extensive treatments, like surgery, later in life. Redirecting jaw growth is easiest at a young age when patients are using their own body growth and cells to assist the correction. Early treatment for jaw discrepancies is not necessary for many young patients. Most visits for younger children are to evaluate dental development and determine what will be needed in the future. The majority of our young patients will have comprehensive orthodontic correction when all of the permanent teeth have developed.

Most of the time, we like to take a conservative approach and monitor our younger patients as their mouths are developing. And because everyone is different, if we see patients early, we can recommend the most appropriate treatment at the most appropriate time so we can continue to deliver great Graber smiles!




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