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“Why Age 7? Isn’t that too young?” When Kids Should See an Orthodontist

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The American Association of Orthodontists recommends all kids see an orthodontist by the time they are seven years old. The thought that instantly comes to most people’s minds is “isn’t that too young? They haven’t even lost all their baby teeth yet.” While age seven may be too young for most kids to get braces, it’s not too young for any kid to get a free consultation with an orthodontist.

Smiling Girls with Straight TeethDr. Montano and Dr. Cardall always say they like to see kids at age seven, but not treat them at age seven—unless there is a serious or severe orthodontic problem that can’t wait until later without risking damage or a less ideal outcome. Most kids do NOT need orthodontic treatment at age seven. However, the 5-10% of kids who need it, REALLY NEED IT. The other 90-95% benefit from free monitoring of any developing problems. Dr. Montano and Dr. Cardall can often prevent a serious problem from developing if it is recognized early, thus avoiding more costly and extensive care later.

Since everyone’s teeth come in at different times and jaws develop at different rates, there is no “right” time for all people to get braces. Seeing an orthodontist at a young age will ensure that you don’t miss the “right” time for your child. Contrary to what most people think, you do NOT need to wait until all the baby teeth fall out and you do NOT need a referral by your dentist. Many people believe their dentist will refer them to an orthodontist if there is a severe problem; however, dentists usually don’t take the same xrays as orthodontists and thus cannot see how developing teeth are erupting nor how the jaws are growing. Only an examination by a competent orthodontist can identify developing problems and plan for their most timely and efficient correction.

By age 7, the permanent front teeth and back molars have usually erupted and our doctors are able to see if the proper amount of teeth are forming, if those teeth are erupting into the correct locations, and if the skeletal growth and facial profile are developing properly. If our doctors decide that your seven year old doesn’t need treatment right away, we will monitor them every 6-12 months completely free of charge. During this time, will check their teeth development and skeletal growth and watch for any abnormalities. If treatment is eventually recommended, it will be performed at the most optimal time for each individual to ensure the best result possible.

When it comes to the BEST treatment possible, timing is the key!

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