As children grow and develop, their teeth and jaws grow and change. Over time, various issues can arise that require orthodontic attention, and the earlier issues are addressed, the better! Orthodontic treatment can bring your child’s teeth, lips, and face into alignment, avoiding long-term damage or pain, and improving your child’s quality of life.
Age to first have an orthodontic evaluation
Our simple guideline for a child’s first orthodontic assessment is whenever the child’s permanent teeth begin to come in – this is normally around age 7. When a child should begin orthodontic treatment depends on the type of problem and how severe it is.
Beginning orthodontic treatment for children
If your child requires treatment, early intervention can make a real difference. We see the best results with treatments that would be impossible once your child’s face and jaw have completely developed. Also, when started early, completion of treatment at a later age may be easier.
During an initial examination, your dentist will evaluate your child’s facial growth, spacing or crowding of teeth, and extra or missing teeth. They will also look for habits like tongue-thrusting and thumb-sucking that may hinder normal tooth growth and development. These habits can change tooth alignment as well as alter facial appearance.
If your child doesn’t require any early treatment, we will do periodic follow-up exams while the permanent teeth are coming in and the face and jaws continue to grow. Each time they are in for their dental hygiene appointments, we will reassess their orthodontic situation.
Orthodontic treatment options, and general information
For additional general information about orthodontics, the treatment options available, first steps and what to expect, and more, refer to our Guide to Orthodontics section.