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What Is the Best Age to Begin Orthodontic Care?

While Ann Arbor Orthodontics can improve smiles at any age, there is usually an optimum age to begin treatment to achieve maximum improvement in your smile. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that a child’s first visit to an orthodontist take place when an orthodontic problem is detected. The AAO also recommends that EVERY child visit an orthodontist by no later than age 7. Early treatment is not always needed, but careful observation can determine if and when your child would benefit the most from orthodontic care.

Early Warning Signs That a Child Needs Orthodontic Care

  • icon for Protruding or Misaligned Teeth

    Protruding or Misaligned Teeth

  • icon for Difficulty Biting & Chewing

    Difficulty Biting & Chewing

  • icon for Overlapping or Crowded Teeth

    Overlapping or Crowded Teeth

  • icon for Mouth Breathing

    Mouth Breathing

  • icon for Protruding or Retruding Jaw

    Protruding or Retruding Jaw

  • icon for Thumb Sucking or Teeth Grinding

    Thumb Sucking or Teeth Grinding

  • icon for Speech Difficulty

    Speech Difficulty

  • icon for Facial Imbalance

    Facial Imbalance

a boy holding a magnifying glass to his teeth

Early Screenings: Why Timely Detection Matters

Early screenings are important because doctors can find issues before children are finished growing. This presents more opportunities to guide their development and prevent serious problems. For example, careful removal of selected baby teeth can temporarily borrow space for successful eruption of adult teeth. If early treatment is not needed, Ann Arbor Orthodontics can carefully monitor the growth and development of your child and begin treatment at the appropriate time. Either way, a timely screening will give you peace of mind and more information on what may be needed in the future.

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Why is Age 7 the Best Time to Be Screened by an Orthodontist?

It’s ideal to be screened at age 7 because doctors can usually spot potential issues by then. The back bite is established when the first adult molars erupt, which usually happens before this age. This means the front-to-back and side-to-side (transverse) relationships of the bite can be evaluated at this time. The presence of erupting incisors can also indicate crowding, an overbite, an open bite, a gummy smile, or habit patterns. Evaluation at this age gives your child the best opportunity for a healthy smile.

All the Advantages of Early Orthodontic Treatment

Some problems cannot be addressed once the jaw and face have finished developing. Orthodontists only recommend early treatment when they know they can make a significant difference in their patient’s outcome if they act early. Some of the advantages of early treatment include:

Preserving or gaining space for erupting teeth
Reducing the need for permanent tooth removal
Creating facial balance by influencing jaw growth
Minimizing treatment time with full braces
Decreasing the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth
Improving a child's self-image
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Schedule Your First Visit We Look Forward to Meeting You

The best way to learn what orthodontic treatment could do for you or your child is to schedule a complimentary initial exam. We will determine the best course of treatment and answer all your questions. Book your initial appointment online now using the link below, or just simply call our office.

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