Does my child need adult teeth before seeing an orthodontist?

The short answer? No, there is no need to wait! In fact, when it comes to having your child’s teeth examined by an orthodontist, the sooner the better. Here’s why:

It’s about more than a pretty smile

Most people think of orthodontists as giving patients straight teeth and beautiful smiles, but that’s not all orthodontists do. The goal of orthodontic treatment is to make sure your bite is right – that upper and lower teeth fit together like interlocking gears. The earlier your child’s teeth are examined by an orthodontist, the better, because in some cases treatment may need to start when baby teeth are still present. 

Some children require growth guidance of bones in the upper and lower jaws, so there’s enough room for permanent teeth. Timing this treatment with predictable stages of dental development and physical growth helps put teeth and jaws in alignment. This is why seeing an orthodontist early on is highly suggested.

The right age to see an orthodontist

At around age six, a child’s first permanent molars appear. An exchange of teeth begins as baby teeth fall out and are replaced by larger-sized permanent teeth. However, this is not always the case for everyone.

Did you know that gums hide about two-thirds of each tooth along with the bone that holds teeth in place? That means conditions interfering with the emergence of teeth can be masked by gums. As a parent, there are clues you can watch for which may signal a problem:

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth
  • Trouble with chewing or biting
  • Speech difficulties
  • Mouth-breathing

If these indicators are not addressed until your child has all of his/her permanent teeth and their growth is essentially complete, correcting the problem may be more difficult than it might have been had treatment occurred earlier.

That’s why the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that children have their first visit evaluation at age seven. If a problem is detected and treatment is advised, you are giving the orthodontist the opportunity to provide your child with the most appropriate treatment at the most appropriate time.

Amazing Smiles makes it easy

With all of this in mind, we at Amazing Smiles developed a program to help you, as a parent, manage your child’s orthodontic care early on. When your child turns seven, they’re eligible to join our growth and guidance program, where they’ll receive complimentary evaluations, doctor reviews, and exams on an as-needed basis. Additionally, they’re able to join all of our exclusive events and receive swag throughout the year. Contact us to join the club today!