Ideally, all children should receive an orthodontic evaluation at age 7.
Although an orthodontist can enhance a smile at any age, there is an optimal time to begin treatment. The optimal time will vary for each child. Sometimes it is best to wait until all the permanent teeth have erupted. Other times, delaying the correction of certain orthodontic problems may require more complicated and expensive treatment in the future. This is why Dr. Gerald, Dr. Mary, and the American Association of Orthodontists recommend an initial orthodontic evaluation at age 7.
Why age 7?
Typically, by age 7, the first adult molars and front incisors have erupted, which establishes the bite. An early evaluation allows Dr. Kim to identify potential areas of concern—such as jaw problems, harmful oral habits, and future crowding of erupting permanent teeth—in a timely fashion.
Benefits of Preventive Orthodontic Treatment
- Correct and guide the growth of your child’s jaw to minimize jaw discrepancies (underbite, overbite)
- Prevent problems with erupting teeth that could lead to tooth and gum damage
- Regulate the width of the upper and lower arches
- Create more space for crowded teeth
- Avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions later in life
- Reduce the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth
- Correct thumb-sucking and help improve minor speech problems
- Improve self-esteem during the impressionable years of childhood
Signs Your Child May Need To See An Orthodontist
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- Difficulty chewing or biting food
- Mouth breathing
- Finger or thumb sucking
- Crowded, misplaced, or blocked teeth
- 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
- Overbite or protruding front teeth