The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that your child be evaluated by age 7. An orthodontic screening enables the orthodontist to detect and evaluate problems that exist, advise if treatment will be necessary and determine the best time for treatment. An evaluation can be earlier than age 7 if a problem is detected by parents, the family dentist or the child’s physician.
It’s best for the orthodontist to see children by age 7 since the first permanent molars and incisors have usually come in by that time and crossbites, crowding, flared front teeth and other problems can be evaluated. When treatment is started early, the orthodontist can guide the growth of the jaw and the incoming permanent teeth. Early treatment can also regulate the width of the upper and lower dental arches, gain space for permanent teeth, lessen the need for permanent tooth extractions, reduce likelihood of impacted permanent teeth, correct thumb-sucking and eliminate abnormal swallowing or speech problems.