At What Age Should I Take my Child to the Orthodontist?

October 13, 2016
Carly A. Ahlbrecht, DDS, MS

At What Age Should I Take my Child to the Orthodontist?

We hear this question a lot at any and all of our Indiana orthodontic offices. And it’s a good one! After all, you want the best for your child—including the healthiest of teeth—and we want to help everyone in your family get that winning smile.

The Best Age for Your Child’s First Orthodontic Evaluation

At Gorman & Bunch Orthodontics, we recommend bringing your child in for an orthodontic evaluation no later than the age of seven—while he/she still has many of his/her primary (baby) teeth. And if you notice any signs of a potential orthodontic problem, we suggest bringing your child in even sooner.

Why seven? First, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends this age. But on top of that, we know and have seen that many orthodontic problems can be more easily corrected before the face and jaws finish developing. Not that they can’t be fixed afterward—in fact, we treat many teens and adults with braces and Invisalign—but early detection can mean a simpler process for you and your child.

And of course, bringing your son or daughter in for an orthodontic evaluation does not guarantee he or she will need treatment. Many do not. But it does give you peace of mind that we can identify any dental irregularities before they worsen as your child develops. And then, only if necessary, we can set the best plan and timing for orthodontic treatment, creating the healthiest environment for your child’s teeth and gums.

What We Do During Orthodontic Treatment for Children

If our orthodontic evaluation uncovers some dental irregularities, we’ll design our First Phase Treatment Plan around your child’s unique needs. This treatment helps to halt the progression of any current problems, prevent future problems from developing, and guide the jaw bones into the best environment for your child’s permanent teeth to enter.

Some specific goals of our First Phase Treatment plan include:

  • Adjusting and aligning upper and lower jaws to proper widths.
  • Make space for crowded teeth and forthcoming permanent teeth.
  • Shorten eventual treatment time for kids who require braces.
  • Lessen the likelihood of needing to remove permanent teeth.
  • Reduce the necessity for oral surgery brought on by unfavorable growth patterns.

Signs Your Child May Need Our First Phase Orthodontic Treatment

Some signs of orthodontic problems—like protruding front teeth—may be easier to spot than others. But some dental concerns may live under the surface, impossible for even the most detailed of parents to discover.

Here are a few things to look for when trying to diagnose the potential need for your child’s orthodontic treatment:

  • Loss of baby teeth too early or too late
  • Trouble biting or chewing
  • Sucking thumb or fingers
  • Underbite or a bite that shifts to one side
  • Misaligned lower and upper teeth

If you’re still unsure if your child needs orthodontic care, we’re happy to help. Contact any of our Central Indiana offices in Carmel, Westfield, Kokomo, Marion, and Wabash to schedule a complimentary orthodontic examination for your child. In just 60 minutes, you’ll know what your child needs for long-term dental health.

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