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

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

What’s the best age to take my child to an 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.

Best Age - Child Orthodontist

The Best Age to Take Child to an Orthodontist

At Gorman & Bunch Orthodontics, we recommend bringing your child to an orthodontist 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.

How Thumb Sucking Can Affect Your Child’s Teeth

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, Zionsville, Fishers, 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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  • I can’t say enough great things about this office. I am legal guardian of my sister and she is going through Invisalign with them… She’s almost done and I am amazed by the results.
    I also go there for continued orthodontic care because orthodontic retention is for life! So glad I have such great people to care for our teeth!!!

    Veronica Boyle Avatar
    Veronica Boyle

    This is the best place to go! Dr. Carly and her staff have made my daughter's smile beautiful.

    Ruth Perkins Avatar
    Ruth Perkins

    Excellent every time we’ve brought our kids. Thorough evaluations, knowledgeable doctors/staff, great with kids, and great results

    Stephanie Avatar

    Cannot say enough good things about this practice! I've been to Westfield and Carmel locations, both are beautiful with helpful and friendly staff. Dr Bunch is experienced, knowledgeable, and truly cares about his patients and strives to get the best results possible for each one!

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    Karen Caudle
  • Amazing office! My daughter was home from college and had an orthodontic emergency. She was not a previous patient. Dr Moran was kind enough to see her. The entire staff was amazing. I would never go anywhere else!

    Sharon Hoover Avatar
    Sharon Hoover

    I love this office. The staff and Dr. Carly are great. I’m having amazing results with my program! I highly suggest it to any and everyone!

    Mark Roberts Avatar
    Mark Roberts

    We were very pleased with the staff and services at Gorman & Bunch. From the beginning, they were very friendly and made us feel comfortable with our first ortho visit. Dr. Carly was very nice and attentive. We ended up with braces for my son on the first visit and they were quick and thorough and made our experience very positive. Definitely would recommend them! They are awesome!

    Donia Shackelford Avatar
    Donia Shackelford

    Amazing experience they all made my daughter and I feel very comfortable, all the ladies were extremely nice. Very well informed. Wouldn't go anywhere else!

    Erica Wood Avatar
    Erica Wood
  • Amazing experience all around. The staff is super friendly and Dr. Carly always makes my daughter feel comfortable with the work being done. We are thrilled with the progress we are seeing, and the customer service is always top notch.

    Alyssa Lozier Avatar
    Alyssa Lozier

    Amazing experience all around. The staff is super friendly and Dr. Carly always makes my daughter feel comfortable with the work being done. We are thrilled with the progress we are seeing, and the customer service is always top notch.

    Ryder man 645 Lozier Avatar
    Ryder man 645 Lozier

    Heather and Dr Carly were awesome! Friendly, informative, and professional. Office was very inviting. We had a great appointment and look forward to the next couple of years of working with them.

    Andy Tebbe Avatar
    Andy Tebbe

    Love this office! Helpful, professional, and knowledgeable doctor and staff. Haven’t had 1 issue with them. They’ve got their routine down pat.

    Courtney Amos Avatar
    Courtney Amos
  • Very great place! Went there for my first time today and i felt so comfortable and they are helping me fix my mouth!! Love love love!

    Haley Elston Avatar
    Haley Elston

    Personal and professional, everyone always takes great care of my sensitive mouth teen!

    This is our first experience with needing orthodontia, when it’s time for my youngest to get braces, we’ll choose this place again in a heartbeat.

    From the team up front to the team in the back, everyone is so nice and yet so efficiently on task, it is quite impressive.

    They have reasonable pricing and are willing to help with a payment plan.

    Keep up the great work!!

    Robert Cassidy Avatar
    Robert Cassidy

    Fantastic staff who put the person (and their teeth!) at the center of the experience. Child-friendly waiting areas. I've had nothing but good experiences over my nearly 10 years with Gorman and Bunch. Cannot recommend highly enough!

    Pete Freeman Avatar
    Pete Freeman

    I just started my first week with the Invisalign. The staff has been extremely friendly and helpful through every step.

    Dr Carly’s initial evaluation of my case was extremely thorough and the options were explained in detail to help make an informed decision.

    They’ve certainly exceeded my expectation and from the looks of it, they do a great job with their younger patients as well!

    Patrick May Avatar
    Patrick May
  • This 64 year old had teeth that had begun to overlap in my adult years, which was attributed to having 4 good teeth removed as a child for "Crowded teeth". I waited to fund Invisalign until incurring no penalty for taking IRA funds, other than taxes. I was fortunate to be referred to Dr. Jason Bunch by my dentist, Dr. Jack Nicewander. Dr. Bunch and his Carmel, IN office staff see numerous children and young adults, but welcome the young at heart as well. I trust them and find them accommodating, efficient, professional and compassionate.

    Joyce Eggleston Avatar
    Joyce Eggleston

    I received Invisalign treatment and had a lot going on. As a mom of two children ,under two years old, it’s tough making doctor appointments but let me tell you they make it work! I was with Dr. Carly at the Westfield office and she always encouraged my little sons to come during my appointments. This made things so much easier for me. The staff at Gorman and Bunch were always welcoming and inviting. They would remember you and are honestly genuine people. Let me tell you it is hard finding good medical practices these days but these people are the best. I forever will recommend Gorman and Bunch to young kiddos and adults.

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    Casey Hood