As part of our evaluation every time you come for an routine appointment, we will assess your child’s occlusion and determine if there is a need to see an orthodontist and when is the appropriate time to do it.
The American Academy of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that your child have an orthodontic examination by age 7 — for two very good reasons.
One stems from the fact that there’s a wide disparity in tooth development at that age — so it takes an expert to tell if a child may actually have an orthodontic problem, or if it’s just a normal developmental variation. By that time, an orthodontist can usually determine whether or not there will be adequate room in the mouth to accommodate the permanent teeth.
The second reason for an early exam is that many conditions are far easier to treat if they’re caught at an early stage, when children’s natural growth processes are in full swing. For example, a palatal expander appliance can effectively treat a child’s crossbite (a condition where the upper teeth close inside the lower ones) because a youngster’s jaw is still growing rapidly. However, if left untreated, oral surgery could later be required to correct this serious condition.
There are other problems commonly seen in childhood that may also benefit from orthodontic treatment. These include the early or late loss of baby teeth, persistent thumb sucking, tongue thrusting and mouth breathing.
Keep in mind that early screening doesn’t mean treatment has to start right away — In fact, most kids don’t begin active orthodontic treatment until they’re 9-14 years old.