All kids should get an orthodontic check-up by age 7
Your child needs teeth and jaws that are properly aligned to have a long-lasting and healthy smile – in other words, a healthy bite. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that your child get an orthodontic check-up by no later than age seven years old.
By then, your child’s teeth have developed enough for subtle problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth to be spotted while some baby teeth are still present. This check-up may reveal that your child’s bite is satisfactory and that braces for kids aren’t necessary.
Or, Dr. McGrory or Dr. McCarty may identify a developing problem but recommend monitoring your child’s growth and development and then, if indicated, begin treatment at the appropriate time for your child.
In other cases, your orthodontist might find a problem that can benefit from early treatment.
Choosing the best time for treatment
While the age at which kids get braces may vary, orthodontic treatment most often begins between the ages of 9 and 14. Some orthodontic problems are easier to correct if they are treated early.
If Dr. McGrory or Dr. McCarty thinks your child will need treatment, she let you know when it will be best to begin treatment. This gives your orthodontist the best chance to:
Signs the bite's not right
It’s not always easy to tell when your child may need braces or has an orthodontic problem. Even teeth that look straight may be hiding a problem bite. Here are some clues that may indicate the need for orthodontic attention:
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- Difficulty chewing or biting
- Breathing through the mouth
- Crowded, misplaced or blocked-out teeth
- Jaws that are too far forward or back
- Biting the cheek or biting into the roof of the mouth
- Protruding teeth
- Upper and lower teeth that don’t meet, or meet in an abnormal way
- An unbalanced facial appearance
- Grinding or clenching of the teeth