What’s the Best Age for My Child’s First Trip to the Orthodontist?

What's the Best Age for My Child's First Trip to the Orthodontist?

Many adults probably remember middle and high school as the years when everyone was wearing metal in their mouths. The best time to make a first orthodontist appointment, however, is far younger than a child’s teenage years. Early detection of potential problems happens earlier than age 12 or 13. A visit to an orthodontist for kids can also help indicate very early on whether your child will have any issues.

Age 7 Is Best for a First Visit

You do not need to wait until your child’s mouth is full of permanent teeth to take him or her to see the orthodontist. In fact, visiting the orthodontist when your child still has some baby teeth will give that professional early insight into your child’s jaw and teeth alignment and how the permanent teeth will grow in when they do come. Even when children have teeth that look straight, premature crowding and malocclusion might develop. An orthodontist can detect signs of problems on kids as young as 7 and can craft a treatment plan that takes advantage of your child’s growth spurts.

Treatment Doesn’t Always Begin Immediately

Seven seems young to many parents because they imagine that first orthodontist visit as the gateway into braces and other corrective measures. The truth is that your 7-year-old probably won’t receive treatment right away. The orthodontist will simply devise a treatment plan that happens as soon as is necessary to shorten the amount of time your child needs to wear braces or other corrective implements.

Watch Out for Early Problems

Should you bring a child younger than 7 to the orthodontist? To answer that question, keep an eye on your child’s teeth. Early or late baby tooth loss might indicate that a visit to the orthodontist is in order. Mouth-breathing, thumb-sucking, and a clicking or cracking jaw can all be signs that you need to take a younger child to the orthodontist. Bite problems, including teeth that don’t meet, an overbite, or an underbite, are yet more signs that you should make the visit sooner. If you have any questions, you can always call an orthodontist and ask whether an appointment is necessary.

What If Your Child Is Older Than 7?

It’s never too late to visit the orthodontist. Many adults who didn’t receive orthodontic treatment as children visit later in life for straighter, healthier teeth. If your child is older than 7, take him or her to the orthodontist as soon as you can make an appointment. Your child might need to begin treatment right away, especially if he or she is much older than 7, to make sure the treatment works to its fullest ability.

Make an appointment for your 7-year-old to find out what’s going on with those teeth. Be sure to take your older kids to the orthodontist as soon as possible if they’ve never been. You might be surprised to find out that it’s time to start treatment. An orthodontist offers so much more than straighter teeth; correcting the bite and alignment can ensure healthier teeth for decades to come.

Image via Flickr by monica y garza

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