by John R. Jerome, DDS MS

Ask Your Local Orthodontist

signature_o_jeromeQ: When should I take my child to see the orthodontist?

A: All kids should get a check-up with an orthodontist no later than age seven.

To have a healthy smile that’s good for life, your child needs teeth and jaws that are properly aligned. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that your child get a check-up with an orthodontist at the first recognition of the existence of an orthodontic problem, but no later than age seven. By then, your child has enough permanent teeth for an orthodontist to determine whether an orthodontic problem exists or is developing.

Putting off a check-up with an orthodontist until a child has lost all baby teeth could be a disservice. Some orthodontic problems may be easier to correct if they’re found early. A check-up no later than age seven gives your orthodontist the opportunity to recommend the appropriate treatment at the appropriate time. If early treatment is in order, the orthodontist may be able to achieve results that may not be possible once the face and jaws have finished growing.

Choosing the Optimal Time for Treatment – Consult an Orthodontist

While orthodontic treatment most often begins between the ages of nine and 14, some children’s orthodontic problems can benefit from earlier treatment. If it appears that your child will need treatment at some point then your orthodontist can advise you about the best time to begin. If early treatment is indicated it can give your orthodontist the chance to:

  • Guide jaw growth
  • Lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth
  • Correct harmful oral habits
  • Improve appearance and self-esteem
  • Guide permanent teeth into a more favorable position
  • Improve the way lips meet


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