Many parents wonder when the right time is to start taking their children to see an orthodontist. As orthodontics has advanced through the years, oral health professionals have learned that it’s beneficial to address problems early when possible. Most specialists recommend taking children to the orthodontist around age seven, since the mouth has usually developed enough and permanent teeth are starting to come in.
Orthodontists are trained to identify issues at an early age and recognize which problems can be corrected before causing worse trouble later. Some conditions are simply easier to repair if they’re addressed early. This gives the orthodontist more control over where the permanent teeth erupt, especially when jaw structure is affected.
Some of the benefits of early intervention for orthodontics include:
• Correcting bite problems
• Guiding jaw growth to accommodate future teeth
• Predicting permanent teeth development
• Reducing the risks of damage to protruding teeth
• Correcting harmful habits like thumb sucking or tongue pushing
• Improving appearance
• Boosting self-esteem
• Lowering the risk for future invasive orthodontic treatment
A common trend in modern orthodontics is a two-phased approach. The first phase begins when the child still has mostly baby teeth, and treats issues like widening the palate or altering the bite. This is in preparation for the second phase when your child is older and more permanent teeth have erupted. The exact timing is determined by the child’s dental needs and growth patterns.
A consultation around age seven gives you and your child the opportunity to establish a relationship with an orthodontist, and obtain the peace of mind that you’re headed the right direction with your child’s treatment plan. This is just one way to ensure your child’s healthy, beautiful smile for life.