Bring My 7 Year Old to an Orthodontist? Why??

Little boy with retainerAccording to the American Association of Orthodontics, children should receive their first orthodontic screening by the age of 7. Not every orthodontic problem can be treated by age 7, but most of them can be identified. Most adult first molars and front teeth are erupted by this age allowing the orthodontist to assess growth patterns and development. While this may seem early to some, in reality early orthodontic treatment prevents more serious problems from arising.

Orthodontic treatment in young children is known as interceptive orthodontics or Phase 1 orthodontics. Since teeth are still developing and the jaw is still growing, certain conditions may be easier to address. The goal of interceptive orthodontics is to create adequate space for permanent teeth to grow and ensure the proper development of the upper and lower jaws. Interceptive orthodontics is necessary to:

  • Guide growth of the permanent and jaws
  • Lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth
  • Correct harmful oral habits
  • Improve facial appearance

While early orthodontics may not be the answer, it is the best solution. Most children who undergo any form of interceptive orthodontics will need further treatment later on in life. There are many benefits, however. The most important is that later treatment will often be shorter, less complicated and less extensive. Other benefits of orthodontic treatment include:

  • Fewer extractions
  • Better profile/facial esthetics
  • Influence jaw growth versus correcting jaw alignment

The only way to know for sure if your child needs interceptive orthodontic treatment is to schedule a visit with your orthodontist. Some of the most common early signs are:

  • Early or late tooth loss
  • Difficulty chewing or biting
  • Crowded or misplaced teeth
  • Current or previous thumb sucker
  • Misaligned jaws

If you think your child may need interceptive orthodontic treatment, consult an orthodontist. X-rays, impressions and photographs may be taken to determine ideal treatment.

About the Author

I am a family dentist who treats children as well as adults. Making smiles people love, extreme makeovers and complex dental reconstruction is our niche including implants, TMJ, orthodontics and cosmetic dentistry. As a participant in the blog, I will be offering dental perspectives on pediatric safety and health care options on a regular basis. I can be reached at Blessings to all! Dr Williams is a member of the PedSafe Expert team


One Response to “Bring My 7 Year Old to an Orthodontist? Why??”

  1. Hazel Owens says:

    I had no idea that it’s recommended to have your first orthodontic appointment at age seven. That seems very young, but I understand now why it’s recommended. Like you said, permanent teeth start growing in around that age, so orthodontists could identify and address growth or crowding problems early on and prevent serious damage. Thanks for the information!

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!