A frequently asked question is “what is the best age for a child to start orthodontic treatment?”
The best answer might be that it depends on the child’s needs and “dental age”. Treatment can and often should be started before the last baby tooth has fallen out.
Very often the family dentist or pedodontist will recommend that the child be seen by an orthodontist because they are concerned about something. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that your child’s first check-up with an orthodontist be performed when an orthodontic problem is first recognized, ideally before the age of 7. Why age 7? By then, your child has enough permanent teeth for an orthodontist to evaluate the developing teeth and the jaws, which in turn can provide a wealth of information about prospective treatment. AAO orthodontists are trained to spot subtle problems even in very young children.
Early treatment addresses habits such as prolonged thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, and certain swallowing or breathing patterns that can open or distort the bite. Early treatment is also helpful when the top jaw is too narrow, not developing in harmony with the lower jaw, or if permanent top teeth are behind the lower ones when closing the jaws. If a young child’s front teeth protrude excessively or very severe crowding is present a first phase of orthodontic care can also be beneficial.
If your child did not receive early orthodontic treatment, and no longer has a lot of baby teeth, an orthodontic consultation can be beneficial at this time.
You are welcome to schedule a free consultation if you think your child can benefit from treatment.