When should my child have an orthodontic evaluation?
Posted on 03/09/2017

When should my child have an orthodontic evaluation?

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Well, the answer is - it depends.  The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an evaluation at age 7. This is not necessarily to start treatment, but to evaluate the need for intervention by looking at jaw growth and permanent teeth development. An orthodontist can carefully monitor growth and development and begin treatment when it is ideal. Many general dentists are proactive in sending patients to an orthodontist for an initial evaluation.  However, you do not need a referral to visit the orthodontist.

In some cases, early intervention may be indicated.  For example, if the upper arch is too narrow and is not in proper alignment with the lower jaw, this is often an indication for early treatment (phase one treatment). Another example is when the top front teeth are biting behind the lower front teeth. This is known as a crossbite and can cause significant wear or chipping of the teeth and even gum recession. When necessary, there are great advantages to starting treatment early.

Most full orthodontic treatment begins around age 10-14, but this can vary based on the individual's tooth development.  It is important, however, to have your child screened by an orthodontist at an early age to determine the ideal time to begin orthodontic treatment. Please do not wait until all of the baby teeth are lost!

As always, Dr. Snider and the team are here to answer your questions, so don't hesitate to ask!