Orthodontics for Children
While there is no exact age for children to begin orthodontic treatment, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends visiting the orthodontist around age 7.
More importantly, if you have any concerns or doubts and want an expert orthodontic opinion, you DO NOT need a direct referral from either your family dentist or your child's pediatric dentist.
Definitely by age 10, most children have a mix of baby teeth and adult teeth, which make it easier for the orthodontist to correct tooth and especially jaw and bite problems sooner. This type of orthodontic treatment usally reduces the amount of treatment and the severity of the problems in the future. Further, for most kids, we can wait until most/all of their adult teeth are in (11-13 yo), but about 5-10% of children have orthodontic problems that require earlier intervention.
Early treatment allows your orthodontist to:
- Correct and guide the growth of your child's jaws
- Regulate the width of the upper dental arch
- Create more space for crowded teeth or for adult teeth erupting in wrong direction
- Reduce the need for permanent tooth extractions later in life
- Eliminate thumb sucking
For parents, it's not always easy to know if your child may need orthodontic treatment.
Here are a few things to look for that may mean your child needs to see an orthodontist like Dr. Altherr:
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- A hard time chewing or biting food
- Mouth breathing
- Finger or thumb sucking
- Crowded, misplaced, or blocked teeth
- Teeth that come together abnormally, or do not come together at all
- Jaws and teeth that are not proportionate to the rest of the face
- Crowded front teeth around age 7 or 8
Please contact our practice to schedule an appointment for an orthodontic evaluation. Early treatment now will give your child a healthy, beautiful smile for the future.