At what age should I schedule an orthodontic screening?

Some parents may associate visits with DFW orthodontists with pre-teens or adolescents, but younger children can benefit from an orthodontic evaluation as well.

Orthodontists can pinpoint potential problems shortly after a child’s permanent teeth begin to erupt. Consequently, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that patients be examined by an orthodontist no later than age 7.

At this initial consultation, the orthodontist will examine the teeth and the jaws to determine whether crowding or some other misalignment is likely to occur. The orthodontist will also look at the way the jaws fit together to form the bite.

Even when a child appears to have perfectly aligned teeth, it’s still wise for parents to schedule an appointment with an orthodontist who can identify issues that may arise later.

If parents do have concerns about the alignment of a younger child’s permanent teeth, an early stage orthodontic intervention may be needed. By using appliances, an orthodontist may be able to prevent certain problems, such as crowded teeth or misaligned jaws, from developing in the first place.

If a particular tooth is likely to become impacted, an orthodontist can also work to encourage its timely eruption into the correct position.

Such preliminary procedures can streamline later, active orthodontic treatment. Alternatively, delaying that first trip to the orthodontist may complicate matters.

Waiting until all of the permanent teeth have come in may present treatment challenges that could have been overcome if the patient had been seen earlier. Some issues can be addressed through orthodontics while the facial structure is still evolving, but they may necessitate surgical interventions if the jaw is already fully developed.

Some children may show no early signs of orthodontic issues, and in these cases mere monitoring may be appropriate. Nonetheless, parents should pursue an orthodontic assessment in younger children to be certain that monitoring will suffice.

The initial visit is painless, as well, so parents can put an anxious child’s mind at ease. Contact one of our orthodontists serving the DFW area to schedule a consultation.