Every parent asks: at what age should my child see an orthodontist?
Chicago Orthodontics’ very own Amy Dustoor, orthodontist and mother, shares her recommendation:
Seven years old is the magic age that the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that children see an orthodontist for an evaluation. Why seven?
At age seven, your child will have a mix of baby teeth and adult teeth. It’s the perfect time for an evaluation that will essentially tell you what treatments (if any!) may be required in order to adjust your child’s bite.
And get this – your child’s evaluation is quick and easy (and free!)
A consultation is typically super easy and a great way to get to know your child’s doctor and staff. It’s also the doctor’s opportunity to learn more about your child and, of course, his or her teeth. The consultation is also a great opportunity to answer any outstanding questions you may have. Depending on your child’s mouth, your orthodontist may also take a panoramic X-ray, which will give your doctor a visual image of the erupting teeth.
The latest research from the American Association of Orthodontists shows that parents are seeking orthodontic treatment for their children between ages 12-14, often because they are waiting for a referral from their dentist. And, not surprisingly, these same parents wish they had known about the AAO’s age recommendation.
But wait, isn’t a seven-year-old too young for braces?
Often, there is no treatment necessary and your child will simply return for follow-ups every six to 12 months to make sure that the adult teeth continue to come in normally.
For those patients that will require treatment, here are examples of why:
• Early loss of baby teeth
• Crossbite (the top teeth bite to the inside of the bottom teeth)
• Severe crowding / lack of space for adult teeth to come in
• Adult tooth stuck below the gums or coming in to the wrong position
• Too much or too little growth of the upper or lower jaw (upper and lower jaws not biting together properly)
• Habits like thumb-sucking that can affect the growth of the jaws
Essentially, seeing an orthodontist at age seven (or earlier if you think there may be a problem) gives your child the best opportunity for the best care.
Early treatment sometimes involves braces, but also can be done with other appliances like a retainer.
My child is older than seven – is it too late? What about my smile?
It’s never too late to schedule an evaluation with your orthodontist. There are tons of different ways to improve your smile and bite at any age using braces, clear aligners like Invisalign or other appliances. If you have questions about your child’s orthodontic care or want to make an appointment, please check us out at chicagoorthodontics.com. Feel free to call or text us at 773-276-0335.