When Should My Child Start Going to the Orthodontist?
Misconception #1: You Should Wait to See an Orthodontist Until ALL of Your Children’s Permanent Teeth Come In.
Not true. Your child’s teeth and jaws are extremely active. There’s a LOT moving around in there! At about 6 years of age, your child will start to get their first permanent molars. You might think that because all this shifting and changing is going on, it might be best to wait until things settle down for a while. In reality, this might actually make treatment more difficult and complicated in the long run.
What Do the Experts Say?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends your child have their first orthodontist appointment by age 7. At this point, your child will have enough of their permanent teeth for an oral health professional to evaluate whether any preventative or constructive treatment might need to be done. Issues such as underbites, cross-bites or crowded teeth are relatively minor if addressed early but can pose more difficult problems if left unchecked.
How Do I Know If My Child Needs to See An Orthodontist?
While it’s helpful for kids who eventually need orthodontic care to check in with an orthodontist early, not every child needs to see an orthodontist. As a parent, you can watch out for some clues that there may be an orthodontic issue that needs to be addressed. One early indicator is early or late loss of baby teeth. Watch out for trouble with chewing or biting, speech difficulties and mouth-breathing. When a child has all of his or her permanent teeth, growth in the mouth is essentially complete. At this point, it can be much more difficult to correct the problem than it might have been had the issue been caught and addressed earlier.