When to Start Orthodontic Treatment

An aligned smile can do wonders for your child’s health and confidence. However, we see many parents who are curious about when to start orthodontic treatment for their kids. They wonder, when should you first see an orthodontist

While there’s no ideal age to get orthodontic care, there are some signals for when to start orthodontic treatment. Learn more about early treatment, the best age for braces, and more from the experts at Vinson Orthodontics.

Close up of a child's teeth.

When Should a Child First See an Orthodontist

Did you know that according to the American Association of Orthodontists, you should take your child to see an orthodontist by age seven? By this point in their development, we can catch emerging bite issues early and fix them before they become larger problems. Phase 1 treatment can guide erupting teeth into a more favorable position, preserve space for permanent teeth, and make future orthodontic treatment easier.

While there is no hard and fast rule about the best age for braces, early adolescence is a good time to get them. Around ages 10-13, the teeth and jaw are a bit more malleable, making it easier to bring teeth into the desired alignment. 

Signs A Child May Need An Orthodontic Exam

So, when should a child first see an orthodontist? There are a few signs parents can watch for that will determine whether your child needs to get an orthodontic exam. Some of these signs include:

  • Losing baby teeth early or late
  • Difficulty chewing or speaking 
  • Thumbsucking
  • Crowded and crooked teeth
  • Jaw popping or shifting
  • Biting the inside of the cheek frequently 
  • Teeth grinding 
  • Mouth breathing 
  • Loud snoring 
  • Noticeable overbite or underbite

If your child exhibits any of these symptoms, it’s time to take them to the orthodontist for an initial exam. 

What To Expect At Your Child’s First Exam

Your child’s first appointment is a great way for us to get to know your child, what their needs are, and how best to care for them. During their complimentary exam, we will: 

  • Review their medical and dental health history.
  • Do a physical exam of their teeth.
  • Take x-rays and an iTero digital scan of their teeth.
  • Diagnose bite malocclusions.
  • Create a custom treatment plan for your child.
  • Talk with you about financial details like insurance coverage and payment plans.

We want you to feel empowered with knowledge about your child’s treatment. If you have any questions during or after your child’s first appointment, feel free to contact us.

What If A Child Does Not Need Orthodontic Treatment?

The majority of children don’t need interceptive orthodontic treatment! Taking your child to the orthodontist early is a precautionary measure to ensure that your child’s teeth are developing properly. If your child is progressing well but needs orthodontic treatment in the future, we’ll suggest seeing them again between 10-13 years old, which is often the best age for braces treatment.

So, When Should You First See an Orthodontist?

A good rule of thumb is to make sure that your child gets an orthodontic exam by age 7. Even if they don’t need early orthodontic treatment right away, it helps determine what kind of treatment they might need later on. Either way, going to the orthodontist early gives your child the best chance at a lifetime of healthier smiles.

If you’re looking for experts in early orthodontic treatment, Dr. Vinson and his amazing orthodontic care team can help your child get a beautiful and functional smile. Schedule an appointment today!