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When Should My Child See an Orthodontist?

Did you know that the American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children see an orthodontist by the time they are 7 years old? Yes, that means that your child should have an orthodontic exam while they still have some of their baby teeth!

While that may seem like too early of an age for an evaluation, it’s important to note that an examination does not always result in orthodontic work. Whether treatment is needed is determined on an individual basis and the direction their teeth are growing.

So, why so early? The transition from baby teeth to permanent teeth is extremely important. During this stage of jaw development, the emerging adult teeth work in harmony with the baby teeth and changes in the bite begin to emerge. Often, these changes are easy to miss with an untrained eye and problems may go undetected, especially if the teeth appear to be straight.

Children have growing bones that are easier to change and guide into proper alignment.  Early detection can prevent further problems and even save your child from having more extensive orthodontic work down the road.

Below are just some of the problems orthodontists look for during an oral examination:

  • Underbite
  • Crossbite
  • Overbite
  • Open bite
  • Tooth crowding

Keep in mind that orthodontists are also trained to look for signs of alignment and bite problems that can develop in the future. Taking a proactive approach to your child’s smile will not only will save money and time, but it will set your child up for a lifetime of optimal oral health.