It’s never too late to get orthodontic treatment. However, considering growth and development of the jaws and timing and status of tooth eruption, the most opportune time to initiate treatment must be determined by an orthodontist. Permanent teeth normally come in at about age 6 or 7. Just as your child’s first visit to the dentist should occur by age 2, the best time for a first visit to the orthodontist is by age 7. The reason the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) makes this recommendation is that many emerging signs of orthodontic problems seem to be detectable by age 7.
Early treatment (ages 7-11) can provide significant benefits, especially when jaw structure irregularities are present, and it may also prevent certain conditions from worsening. Treating children during their growth stages allows us to achieve results that may not be possible when face and jaw structures have fully developed, and can simplify or, at times, eliminate additional treatment for a child.
Even if early treatment is not necessary, an early evaluation is still a great way to anticipate later treatment needs.
Early Treatment Benefits Can Include:
- Make room for teeth that are coming in
- Guide growth to create facial symmetry and better jaw coordination
- Reduced need for tooth removal
- Better speech and nasal breathing
- Reduced risk of nighttime teeth grinding caused by improperly positioned teeth
- Elimination of unhealthy habits such as thumb sucking and tongue thrusting
Click here for some of the common orthodontic problems seen in children.