Parents frequently ask the same questions. One of the more popular ones is just how early we can tell if a child needs braces. Typically your child’s pediatric dentist will let a parent know if they see something worth checking with an orthodontic specialist. However, a good rule of thumb is for parents to take their kid for their first orthodontic check-up by the age of 7. This is not only my recommendation but also the official recommendation of the American Association of Orthodontics. This first check-up is an essential step in helping to ensure that your child’s teeth are off to a great start and that they will have a healthy and beautiful smile that will last a lifetime.
By taking your child to an orthodontist at the age of 7, we are able to examine them and see details that you may not be able to see on your own. By this age, children’s teeth should have developed to the point that we can diagnose even minor problems that may be connected with such things as emerging teeth or jaw growth. For most 7-year-olds, their first visit to the orthodontist is a basic check-up. However, for a small percentage of children, about 5 to 10 percent can benefit from early childhood treatment which is what we refer to as “interceptive orthodontics.” Some of the potentially dangerous issues that we can possibly find and correct, include:
- Jaw alignment issues such as underbite, crossbite, abnormal jaw growth, etc.
- Impacted teeth: teeth that are blocked from coming down
- Chipped or fractured teeth
- Gum tissue recession
By properly correcting these problems at an early age, we also help to improve possible social issues where children may be the victim of teasing or bullying. In fact, studies have proven that the #1 reason that bullying occurs to a particular child is due to the appearance of their teeth. A child’s smile can have a huge impact on their happiness and social acceptance as they grow. With a healthy and beautiful smile, your child has a much better opportunity to be confident and gain social acceptance.