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.

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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.