Visit the Orthodontist by Age 7
Parents may think children don't need to see an orthodontist until their permanent teeth come in completely, which could mean the early teen years. But some problems develop between ages 6 and 12, as the child's permanent teeth erupt. And by quickly identifying such problems, you can reduce their severity and prevent early damage. Doing so also can eliminate or reduce the need for more extensive orthodontic work later on.4 That's why the American Association of Orthodontists suggests an orthodontic checkup no later than age 7.3
Signs that your child might benefit from braces or other orthodontic work include:2
Early or late loss of baby teeth
Trouble chewing or biting
Thumb or finger sucking
Crowded, misplaced, or blocked teeth
Jaws that shift or make sounds
Biting the cheek or the roof of the mouth
Teeth that meet badly or not at all
Jaws and teeth that are out of proportion to the rest of the face
Early orthodontics can enhance your child's smile and improve appearance and self-esteem. Pediatric orthodontics can straighten crooked teeth, guide permanent teeth into better positions, correct bite problems, and even prevent the need for tooth extractions.1
1 "Early Orthodontic Care." American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.
http://www.aapd.org/publications/brochures/earlyortho.asp. Accessed 2009.
2 "Early Warning Signs Indicating it is Time for an Orthodontic Exam." American Association of Orthodontists. http://www.braces.org/learn/When-Should-I-Start.cfm. Accessed 2009.
3 "Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)." American Dental Association. http://www.ada.org/public/topics/braces_faq.asp. Accessed 2009.
4 "Oral Health Topics A-Z." American Dental Association.
http://www.ada.org/public/topics/braces_faq.asp. Accessed 2009.
Online Medical Reviewer:
Samuel F. Dworkin, DDS, PhD
Date Last Reviewed:
Date Last Modified:
The views represented by this article are that of the author and not of Delta Dental. This article is provided for information only. Please consult with a licensed dentist to discuss the best way for you to improve or maintain your oral health.
In all cases, specific group contract provisions, benefits, limitations and exclusions take precedence over oral health recommendations given here. We recommend that you contact your dental benefits carrier to determine the specific limitations and exclusions for your group.