The Recommended Age for an Orthodontist Visit and Reasons for Children’s Braces

Some children develop crowded, crooked, or widely spaced teeth, as well as misaligned jaws and uneven bites due to various reasons. Several kids experience one or more of these problems at a young age, which prompts parents to wonder when to schedule their children’s first orthodontist visit in Davis.

A child’s dentist will advise parents when an orthodontist should be pursued. Depending on the severity and type of alignment problem, a child may eventually require braces.

An Orthodontist Puts Dental Braces on a Child to Correct an Overbite

Why Age 7 for a Child’s First Orthodontist Visit?

Several dentists and healthcare organizations, including the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), agree that 7 years old is a good age for a child’s first orthodontist visit. Children’s permanent teeth are already developing at this age. Indeed, the majority of permanent teeth appear between ages 7 and 9. However, orthodontists can recommend an interceptive approach for children who have few to no permanent teeth. In this case, dental braces may not be applied. Instead, other dental appliances can be used in the first stage of treatment. Later on, dental braces may be required, but for a short period should the interceptive approach be successful.

Why Children Would Need Braces

Orthodontists can recommend dental braces for a variety of reasons, including the existence of crooked, overcrowded, or overlapping teeth. Also, malocclusion—a bad bite—necessitates the application of braces. Malocclusion occurs when the upper and lower jaws differ in size. If the top jaw is bigger than the lower jaw, an overbite develops. If the bottom jaw is bigger than the top, an underbite occurs.

Moreover, losing baby teeth prematurely can produce tooth and jaw problems. Such losses can result from accidents or bad habits, such as thumb sucking. Occasionally, a child’s dental problem is inherited. Children’s dentists often notice these problems initially and then refer parents to orthodontists. The orthodontist will subsequently determine whether the child needs braces or a different device and approach.

Though the first orthodontist visit is recommended at age 7, it may be needed earlier, depending on the existing dental problem. The orthodontist will decide exactly when a child needs braces or alternative dental appliances. No matter the treatment, an orthodontist possesses expertise in aligning and straightening teeth to resolve a child’s early dental complication.

Sources:

“Dental braces: When to start,” Thomas J. Salinas, Mayo Clinic, May 21, 2014,

“The Basics of Braces,” KidsHealth, 2016,