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When is the best time for your child to see an orthodontist?

According the American Association of Orthodontists, all children should have a check-up with an orthodontic specialist no later than age 7.

Why do they recommend being seen by age 7?

Generally, it is around this time that some permanent teeth have erupted and there are several conditions that can be assessed at this age including, though may not require treatment:

  • Initial crowding

  • Deep bites

  • Open bites

  • Crossbites

  • Jaw discrepancies

  • Bite relationships (occlusion)

What will happen if my child has not been seen at age 7?

At this age the most important thing is to gather information and assess your treatment options.  Even if treatment cannot be performed or is not recommended, it is better to be aware of the conditions that are present to determine when treatment is right for your family member.

Will every child need some orthodontic treatment at this age 7?

In general, no.  Most of the time, treatment at younger ages is geared toward correcting a specific need that could otherwise affect the child’s growth and development of facial structures through puberty.  

There are often conditions that do not need treatment at an early age and can be corrected at a later time.  It is important to note, not all treatment at this age will prevent the need for future orthodontic treatment, but rather it can prevent a problem from getting worse or improve a specific condition.

What should I expect for my child’s first visit?

Most orthodontists will perform routine exams, assess oral conditions and discuss any recommended treatment options with you.  Sometimes, treatment may not be needed and your orthodontist will only want to monitor the child’s growth and development to determine when would be the best time to begin orthodontic treatment (if it is needed).  

It’s always comforting to be informed about the health and growth of your child. So while treatment at age 7 is not typically required it’s a good idea to see your local orthodontist to get a baseline and an understanding of your child’s potential orthodontic needs.