What is the Right Time for a Child’s First Orthodontic Checkup? No Later than Age 7!
According to the American Association of Orthodontists, children should be taken to see an orthodontic specialist no later than age 7. This will allow the orthodontist to make sure your child’s smile is developing correctly, and they can even recommend early interceptive treatment (also known as Phase I) to treat small issues before they can become more complicated in the future.
With Phase I treatment, Dr. Amin Mason is able to straighten primary (baby) teeth and create a clear path for the adult teeth to erupt. At this point, a child may then receive Phase II treatment for their permanent teeth. However, in some cases, Dr. Mason is able to completely correctly a child’s orthodontic issues using just this initial phase.
The point is: It’s in your child’s best interest to see an orthodontist while they are still young. With this early care, Dr. Mason can often save them from needing to get more extensive treatments in the future. Even if your child is already 7 or older, this initial appointment is very important for the long-term development and health of their smile.
What Is My Orthodontist Looking For During My Child’s First Appointment?
Dr. Mason will try to spot issues involving both your child’s teeth and jaw development that could cause larger problems in the future.
While your child’s smile may appear straight, below the gum line may tell a completely different story. Often, the roots of the teeth can be very crooked, causing many potential problems. The only way to catch these issues is by taking an x-ray.
This first checkup will help Dr. Mason determine not only if your child may need treatment, but when as well. That way, he can utilize a treatment at the exact right time in their development to get the most effective results with the least amount of effort.
This early appointment will allow Dr. Mason to catch and treat issues that may not be correctable once a child is older and their jaw/teeth have stopped developing.
Early Treatment May Give Dr. Mason the Chance To:
Help guide correct jaw development.
Lower the chance of injury to protruding front teeth.
Correct harmful habits (such as thumb/digit-sucking).
Improve the appearance of your child’s smile.
Make sure their adult teeth come in straight.
Use treatments that will reduce the need for more treatment in the future.
Your Child May Need An Early Orthodontic Appointment If:
They have or have not lost their baby teeth at the appropriate time. Typically, a child should start losing their teeth at age 6 and have all their adult teeth by age 13.
They have difficulty or feel discomfort biting or chewing.
Your child sucks their thumb or finger after age 5.
They have front teeth that stick out.
Your child’s bite is uneven or doesn’t come together all the way.
They have crowded teeth at age 7 or 8.
Patient presented with bilateral posterior crossbite(narrow upper jaw) and underbite. Crossbite and underbite correction performed during Phase I. Patient’s profile improved post treatment.
Patient presented with an underbite, trauma to lower front teeth, and gingival recession. Underbite correction was performed during Phase I. Gingival recession improved as well.
Open Bite Case
Patient presented with an open bite due to thumb sucking habit. Sucking habit was stopped and bite was closed during Phase I treatment. After patient lost all of primary (baby) teeth, patient was evaluated for 2nd phase. Parents chose not to pursue 2nd phase of treatment as they were happy with the Phase I results.
Early Loss Case
Patient presented with early loss of primary tooth C and impaction of adult tooth #6. During Phase I treatment, space was created for tooth #6 and tooth erupted without damaging neighboring teeth.
If you have a child who you believe needs orthodontic care or has yet to see an orthodontist, please contact our office today to schedule a consultation.