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What Age Should My Child Have An Orthodontic Evaluation

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that a child undergo an orthodontic evaluation by the time they are seven years old. By that age, the child’s adult teeth will have started growing in, and we will be able to spot developing problems, like a bad bite or abnormally narrow palate.

Why So Young?

A child’s jaw is softer and more flexible than an adult’s, and that makes treating some conditions easier. For example, we can use an appliance called a palate expander to correct an abnormally narrow palate in a child. An adult with the same problem would need to undergo jaw surgery. Similarly, early treatment reduces the need for tooth extractions later on.

What is the Two-Phase Treatment?

In the Two-Phase Treatment, we typically perform the first phase when the child is around eight or nine years. We use appliances and other treatments to correct jaw or bite problems. Many of these treatments will ensure there is enough room for all of the permanent teeth in the jaw, so we don’t have to extract any.

After completing Phase One, we let the child rest for a few years. We start Phase Two when the child is at least eleven years old. By then, all of their adult teeth, except the wisdom teeth, will have grown in. During Phase Two, we straighten the child’s teeth with braces.

Factors Other Than Age That May Require Orthodontic Treatment

Specific situations that require an orthodontist’s attention include the following:

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth
  • Thumb-sucking past the age of five
  • Trouble chewing food
  • Speech impediments
  • Crowded front teeth
  • Jaws that make noises or pop when opening or closing
  • Teeth that don’t come together normally or even at all

For your child’s first orthodontic evaluation, contact us! The orthodontists of Speaks Orthodontics are ready to get your child on his/her way to straight teeth and a beautiful smile.