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When should I bring my child to see the orthodontist?

One of the most common questions parents ask is when they should bring their child in to see the orthodontist. Most people assume that they should wait until all baby teeth have fallen out. However, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that everyone have their first orthodontic consultation with a specialist by age 7.

Why so young?

Around age 7 most children are sporting their first permanent molars and some of their permanent incisors (front teeth). It is very important for us as orthodontists to see children around age 7 to screen for any issues that could cause bigger problems down the road.

Don’t worry. Most 7 year olds don’t require any treatment at their young age. For the minority of children that do need an early, limited intervention, we can prevent problems that will either be unfixable or much more complicated in the future. For the vast majority of children an orthodontic consultation can bring peace of mind that everything is developing normally for their age.

Won’t my dentist tell me when I need to go to the orthodontist?

Many dentists will make a recommendation for their patients to see the orthodontist when they notice something going wrong. However, the perspective of a dentist is a little different than that of an orthodontic specialist. Dentists focus mostly on the overall health of the teeth and gums, checking for cavities and other problems of that nature. As orthodontic specialists, our sole focus is on the proper development of your child’s bite and the alignment of their teeth. Also, the x-ray that we take is different from the x-rays that a dentist typically takes and it provides us with more information about the developing teeth. Care from both a dentist and an orthodontist is important for your child’s overall oral health. If your child is already over the age of 7, go ahead and bring them in to see the orthodontist at any time. No referral from a dentist is needed.

Some of the things we look for during an initial consultation for 7 and 8 year olds include:

If you’d like more information on this topic you can visit: https://www.aaoinfo.org/_/parents-guide/

Schedule a complimentary consultation for all members of your family age 7 and older today! If you have any questions, please reach out to us. We look forward to helping you out!

Image source: American Association of Orthodontists, https://www.aaoinfo.org/system/files/media/documents/PTWF_Grow_Child-17-hl.pdf

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