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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  • review rating 5  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.

    thumb Andy Tebbe
  • review rating 5  Excellent every time we’ve brought our kids. Thorough evaluations, knowledgeable doctors/staff, great with kids, and great results

    thumb Stephanie
  • review rating 5  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!

    thumb Sharon Hoover
  • review rating 5  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!

    thumb Haley Elston
  • review rating 5  Love this office! Helpful, professional, and knowledgeable doctor and staff. Haven’t had 1 issue with them. They’ve got their routine down pat.

    thumb Courtney Amos
  • review rating 5  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!

    thumb Erica Wood
  • review rating 5  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!

    thumb Pete Freeman
  • review rating 5  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!!

    thumb Robert Cassidy
  • review rating 5  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.

    thumb Joyce Eggleston
  • review rating 5  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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