What age is the right age to see an orthodontist?
While most people picture teenagers in braces, The American Association of Orthodontists says 7 is actually the ideal time for your child to have his or her first visit with an orthodontist. At Westwalk Orthodontic Group, we like to see our patients by age 8.
While the vast majority of 8 year olds won’t need immediate treatment, we can spot subtle issues with how the jaw is developing and the permanent teeth are erupting, even with baby teeth still present. This can allow us to complete necessary work while the jaw is still growing, thereby making treatment more effective and efficient.
Your child’s teeth may appear to be relatively straight, but there could be problems that only the well-trained eye of an orthodontist could spot. Early treatment may be able to prevent more serious issues from developing as the child grows. Early interventive treatment to correct subtle issues, such as jaw development and growth, can often mean later treatment will be shorter and less involved. In some cases, we can achieve results that we may not otherwise be able to once the jaw has stopped growing.
Not every child who visits us at the age of 8 will require treatment right away, or even at all. Sometimes the smile and jaws are developing exactly as they should. However, starting a relationship at this age means we can begin to monitor your child’s growth and then, if indicated at any point, begin treatment at precisely the right time that it will have the most impact.
Early orthodontic treatment can:
- Properly guide jaw growth
- Lower potential risk of trauma due to protruded front teeth
- Correct oral habits that could damage the smile
- Guide permanent teeth to more ideal positions
- Improve the way the lips meet
- Improve speech, biting and chewing ability
Our goal is to provide the most appropriate treatment at the appropriate time, allowing for the best possible result for every patient we treat. We find that many times patients wait too long to have their first visit, believing that they must wait until the teen years or until all the baby teeth have fallen out. Unfortunately, if patients wait until all the baby teeth have fallen out and the adult teeth have come in, our orthodontic options may be limited because we have already missed the peak jaw growth years.