The American Association of Orthodontists recommends parents take their children to their local orthodontist for an initial assessment and visit by age seven.1 As a parent, you may be wondering why such a young age, and you would not be alone. You, yourself, may not have seen your orthodontist until you were a teenager.
Over the years, as technologies, treatments, and other advances in orthodontic care have developed, so, too, have the recommendations for checkups. By age seven, most children have started losing their baby teeth and have a good set of their adult teeth. In addition, your youngster should have developed his or her first set of molars.
Bringing your child in for an initial visit at this age allows the orthodontist to check several different vital areas of dental development, including:
- How the jaw bone is growing and developing.
- Whether there could be problems with the overcrowding of teeth.
- The bite of the teeth and whether there is a significant under-bite or over-bite.
- Whether there are any impacted or potentially missing teeth.
Another goal of this visit is to help get your children comfortable to the orthodontic office by introducing them to the staff, showing them different ways to improve their dental habits, and other such things to put them at ease.
At What Age Should Orthodontic Treatment Begin?
Most orthodontists want to wait until your children are a little older before starting their orthodontic treatments. However, if potential problems are evident during their initial visit at age seven, recommendations may be made on various treatments that can help guide the development of their teeth and avoid lengthy treatments later on.
Depending on how fast your children are developing molars and adult teeth, some form of treatment could begin as early as age eight, like with a removable orthodontic appliance, although, on average, most children do not get their braces or start Invisalign treatment until they are between eleven and fourteen.
Another factor that will determine what age is best to start treatment is the extent of their orthodontic problems. If they have crooked teeth, teeth with big gaps, or adult teeth growing at unusual angles out of the gums, then it can be better to begin treatment sooner instead of waiting until they are older, especially if they are overtly conscious about the look of their smile or are being picked on or teased by their peers.
What’s Next After the Initial Orthodontic Visit?
After the initial visit, your child’s orthodontist will make a recommendation when your child should return for a follow-up visit. If there are no pressing issues or problems, then the follow-up visit could be a year or two later. However, if there are concerns, bi-annual checkups could be beneficial so potential issues can be identified and addressed before they become major issues.
For further questions about orthodontics or to schedule an initial assessment for your child, please feel free to contact Labbe Family Orthodontics at 410-267-7300 today! We are known as the “FUN” orthodontist because we strive to make your visits relaxing, enjoyable, and memorable.