I think this is the most asked question in orthodontics. Maybe even more asked than “When am I getting my braces off?” The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all kids have an orthodontic consultation around the age of seven years old. But isn’t that too young to have braces? Great question. I’ll explain.
Most kids from the ages of 7-10 years old don’t need braces or other orthodontic treatment. But kids whose dental problems fall into certain categories can definitely benefit from early orthodontic treatment and many difficult problems can be solved or alleviated with orthodontic intervention. Some of these problems include:
- Crowding of the upper and lower front teeth
- Missing teeth
- Extra teeth
- Early loss of baby teeth
- Breathing and airway problems
- Jaw growth problems
Orthodontists are experts in the early diagnosis of orthodontic problems in children. In our office, we use high-tech digital X-rays to see the upper and lower jaws and all of the teeth, even the permanent ones that haven’t come in yet. Many problems go undiagnosed without these special X-rays. You might think your child has perfect baby teeth and a cute smile and won’t need to see an orthodontist until all those baby teeth come out. But you never know what problems a child might have sitting right underneath those perfect baby teeth.
Consultations in our office are free. And no, you don’t need to have a referral from your dentist to make an appointment or be seen for a consultation. These appointments take about an hour and you’ll leave well-informed and with a plan going forward, whether that means treatment now or well into the future.
So, the short answers:
- “When should my child be seen by an orthodontist?” Age 7 is ideal.
- “Isn’t my child too young to have braces then?” No, but only if they have certain problems.
I am a firm believer that the best early treatment is to do nothing. I am also a firm believer that the best early treatment is to do something if there is a very good reason to do so. If you have any questions about early orthodontic treatment or otherwise, please call our office. We are passionate about helping people understand more about the benefits of orthodontic treatment!