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When Should My Child See an Orthodontist for the First Time

When Should My Child See an Orthodontist for the First Time
Posted on 07/29/2015

With so many adults today wearing braces, most people know that it's never too old to benefit from orthodontic treatment. But when it comes to children, it's best to have a child seen early in life by an orthodontist so they can be screened for any potential orthodontic problems while the child is still young. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children receive their first orthodontic screening by the age of 7.

Importance of an Early Screening

Children benefit from early orthodontic screenings in many ways. However, just because a child is seen by an orthodontist at age 7, doesn't necessarily mean that treatment will begin then. In most cases, the child's development patterns will determine when treatment should start. And because children all develop differently, treatment plans are specifically customized to address future issues.

Most children start developing their adult molars by the time they reach the age of six. Once the adult molars have emerged, an orthodontist can evaluate a child's bite to determine whether or not there are orthodontic problems developing. It is at this time when an orthodontist can evaluate the basic alignment of the teeth. For instance, once the adult molars have come in, an orthodontist can evaluate the front-to-back and side-to-side tooth relationships and determine if the spacing in the mouth is correct to allow for the optimal development of the permanent teeth that are still coming in. 

Some Problems are Easier to Treat if Caught Early

Children with common orthodontic problems typically begin treatment between the ages of 9 and 14 when many of the permanent teeth are in place. However, there are some conditions that are easier to treat if they're spotted at an earlier age while a child is rapidly growing. Some of the conditions that can be treated easily while a child is still young include:

Crossbite – When the upper teeth close inside the lower teeth
Severe Crowding –When the jaws are too small to accommodate all the permanent teeth
Protruding Front Teeth – Front teeth that protrude are prone to chipping and fractures and can negatively affect a child's self-esteem
Severe Underbite – A condition wherein the lower jaw grows much larger than the upper jaw to result in serious bite problems 

Correction of Bad Habits

Some habits children have when they're young like thumb or finger sucking, tongue thrusting and mouth breathing can negatively influence the development and function of the teeth, jaws and mouth. If these types of habits persist over time, they can lead to many types of orthodontic problems such as crooked teeth, open bites or abnormal jaw growth. There are several orthodontic treatments available to help correct these types of parafunctional habits and the sooner they're dealt with, the less damage they may cause. However, these potential problems are not always easy to recognize. This is one more reason why children should been seen by an orthodontist at an early age.

Schedule Your Child's First Appointment Today

My Orthodontist has six conveniently located offices in Lawrenceville, West New York, Cherry Hill, Deptford and East Orange NY as well as Langhorne PA where we provide our patients with the most advanced orthodontic treatment available. If you'd like to schedule an appointment for your child, please call our nearest office location to set up an appointment time. We look forward to meeting you and your child soon!

My Orthodontist

  • Lawrenceville Office - 3131 Princeton Pike, Bldg. 1A, Suite 101, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648 Phone: (609) 554-5654 Fax: (609) 883-3382
  • West New York Office - 431 59th St., West New York, NJ 07093 Phone: (201) 331-9177 Fax: 201-590-9560
  • Cherry Hill Office - 1940 E. Route 70, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003 Phone: (856) 263-5488 Fax: 856-424-1309
  • Deptford Office - 1800 Clements Bridge Rd., Deptford Township, NJ 08096 Phone: (856) 408-1276 Fax: 856-251-0649
  • East Orange Office - 185 Central Ave., Suite 305, East Orange, NJ 07018 Phone: (973) 601-5996 Fax: 973-672-1005
  • Langhorne, PA Office - 586 Middletown Blvd., Suite C-10, Langhorne, PA 19047 Phone: (215) 515-7314 Fax: 215-750-7848
  • Bayonne Office - 1222 JFK Blvd., Bayonne, NJ 07002 Phone: (201) 355-5799
  • Paterson Office - 1010 Main St. 2nd Floor, Suite 8, Paterson, NJ 07503 Phone: (862) 881-4153
  • Medford Office - 686 Stokes Rd., Medford, NJ 08055 Phone: (609) 643-0708

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