The Right Time for an Orthodontic Check Up:
No Later than Age 7
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends all children get a check up with an orthodontic specialist no later than age 7. Here’s why:
- Orthodontists can spot subtle problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth while some baby teeth are still present.
- While your child’s teeth may appear to be straight, there could be a problem that only an orthodontist can detect.
- A checkup may reveal that your child’s bite is fine. Or, the orthodontist may identify a developing problem but recommend monitoring the child’s growth and development, and then, if indicated, begin treatment at the appropriate time for the child. In other cases, the orthodontist might find a problem that can benefit from early treatment.
- Early treatment may prevent or intercept more serious problems from developing and may make treatment at a later age shorter and less complicated. In some cases, the orthodontist will be able to achieve results that may not be possible once the face and jaw have finished growing.
- Early treatment may give your orthodontist the chance to: Guide jaw growth Lower the risk of trauma to protruding teeth, correct harmful oral habits, improve appearance, guide permanent teeth into a more favorable position and create a more pleasing arrangement of teeth, lips and face.
- Through an early orthodontic evaluation, you’ll be giving your child the best opportunity for a healthy beautiful smile.
If your child is older than 7, it’s not too late for a checkup. Because patients differ in both physiological development and treatment needs, the orthodontist’s goal is to provide each patient with the most appropriate treatment at the most appropriate time.
In addition, if you notice any of the following in your child, check with your orthodontist:
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- Difficulty in chewing or biting
- Mouth breathing
- Jaws that shift or make sounds
- Speech difficulties
- Biting sheek or the roof of the mouth
- Facial imbalance
- Grinding or clenching of the teeth
Final treatment decisions should be made among the parent, child’s dentist and orthodontist.