Orthodontics for Children
While there is no exact age for children to begin orthodontic treatment, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends a first visit to the orthodontist around age seven.
By this age, most children have a mix of baby teeth and adult teeth, making it easier for the orthodontist to decide the optimum time to correct specific tooth and jaw problems without jaw surgery.
Early treatment allows your orthodontist to:
- Correct and guide the growth of your child's jaw to help the permanent teeth come in straight
- Regulate the width of the upper and lower dental arches
- Create more space for crowded teeth
- Possibly avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions or more complex orthodontic procedures in the teenage years
- Correct thumb sucking and other mouth habits before they cause permanent changes to the shape of the jaws or the alignment of the teeth.
For parents, it's not always easy to know if your child may need orthodontic treatment.
Here are a few things to look for that may mean your child needs to see an orthodontist:
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- A hard time chewing or biting food
- Mouth breathing
- Finger or thumb sucking
- Crowded, misplaced, or blocked teeth
- Permanent teeth growing in behind or on top of baby teeth that have not come out yet
- Jaws that pop or make sounds when opening and closing
- Teeth that come together abnormally, or do not come together at all
- Jaws and teeth that are not proportionate to the rest of the face
- Crowded front teeth around age seven or eight
If you notice any of the problems above, please contact our practice to schedule a complimentary orthodontic evaluation. Early orthodontic intervention will give your child a better chance for a healthy, beautiful smile for the future.