The Telltale Signs
If your child has a very crowded set of adult teeth coming in, or if the permanent front teeth came in very early, these are signs that your child should see us, regardless of age.
The Dental Age
Barring signs of trouble or early adult teeth as mentioned above, the time that your child needs to be seen for initial orthodontic evaluation depends not so much upon your child’s actual age, but on what is known as a “dental age.”
The dental age of the patient might be entirely different from his or her actual chronological age; for example, an eight-year-old could have a dental age of 13. It is our duty to determine the dental age and then make appropriate recommendations for the resolution of orthodontic issues if they are emerging.
The “Official” Recommended Age
The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) officially recommends that kids should see an orthodontist for the first time between the ages of 7 and 9. Even if the child does not have all his or her permanent teeth, the teeth growth pattern can usually be predicted pretty spot on by an orthodontist.
This allows for quicker response to emerging problems, and this is the reason that some children are now getting orthodontic appliances at a much younger age. If a young child has serious orthodontic issues developing, we can address the problems immediately and then follow up with another round of treatment when the child has all the adult teeth.