If you had braces in the past, you most likely remember going to see an orthodontist. Do you happen to remember what age you were when you went to see them for the first time? If not, do you happen to at least remember your first visit? A lot of times, people do not remember their first orthodontist appointment, which means they probably went when they were relatively young. Which poses this question, what age should your child see an orthodontist?
Children and adults of all ages go to see an orthodontist. What many people may not realize is that there is not actually a set age where an orthodontist must see an adult or child. Everyone’s mouths grow and develop differently. Therefore, the age at which a child needs to be seen is on a case by case basis.
Why should an orthodontist see my child?
There are a handful of reasons why your child should at least have an examination done by an orthodontist. You may see your child’s teeth and think they are straight and do not need braces; however, that may not always be the case. During an examination, the orthodontist will be able to see how aligned the teeth are, how the jaw lines up, and just how straight the teeth really are. During the exam, x-rays will be taken, and they will be able to show how the roots look as well.
Braces are needed to fix several issues that can be found in a child’s mouth. Small or extreme, your child could be experiencing malocclusion (bad bite), crooked teeth, overlapping or overcrowded teeth, thumb sucking issues, mouth breathing, loss of baby teeth early or late, teeth grinding, difficulty speaking or chewing, and a shifting jaw. Many things can be taking place in your child’s mouth, and it is better to be seen and catch potential problems than to attempt to fix them at a later age.
What is the recommended age?
Like we previously mentioned, there is not an exact age that a child needs to be seen by an orthodontist. Every child is different. It is recommended that children be seen at the latest by age 7. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that your child get their first check-up done by an orthodontic specialist no later than the age of 7. At this age, teeth are still falling out, and new ones are coming in. It is easier to spot subtle problems with teeth and a child’s jaw at this stage in life.
Not every child that comes in to be seen will automatically need braces. The first initial appointment is just to check on how everything in the mouth is doing. There may be children who come in that will need braces right away, do not need braces until a few more years, or may not even need braces at all. This can only be determined by the orthodontist.
Children as young as six could end up having to get braces; this is known as early treatment. Early treatment can be extremely beneficial in preventing future issues they may come. Braces can help guide jaw growth correctly, correct harmful oral habits like thumb-sucking or teeth grinding, correct protruding or gapped front teeth, and improve the overall appearance.
Getting braces sooner than later
Getting braces early on when your child’s orthodontist recommends is very beneficial to you and your child. The cost of braces is not cheap, and at an early age, the majority of children get metal braces. As your child grows up, metal braces may not be what they want. They may want a more discreet form of teeth straightening like Invisalign, which is more costly. Ceramic braces are also more discrete, but they are also a little more pricey than traditional metal braces.
We hope you found our blog about what age a child should see an orthodontist helpful! We understand it can be a lot of information all at once, so if you have questions or need some clarification, please do not hesitate to give us a call. At Newpark Orthodontics, Dr. Nima is ready to exam your child and let you know when treatment may be needed. If you are ready to meet Dr. Nima, you can visit our website and make an appointment!