When your child turns seven years old, it’s time to set up his or her first orthodontic exam. Seven is the optimal time, according to the American Association of Orthodontics, unless a problem becomes apparent sooner.

Shouldn’t I wait until my child’s permanent teeth are all in?

No. In some cases early preventive work—such as the use of an expander—will lesson the need for braces later, which usually begins between the ages of 10 and 14, when all of the permanent teeth are in.

Starting treatment early has proven to be the most effective and efficient strategy. While children are still developing, King Orthodontics treats jaw growth, increases space where needed for larger permanent teeth, and corrects harmful oral habits such as finger sucking. In the case of an over-bite, our measures may protect the front permanent teeth from trauma during sports or everyday play.

My child’s teeth look straight—how do I know if there’s a problem?

Your child’s baby teeth may appear straight now, but with insufficient spacing, those larger permanent teeth can’t push their way through and stay in position. Something has to give. We can correct this issue by using a palatal expander, for example. Expanders broaden the palette, thereby creating more space for the permanent teeth to move into their correct positions. Also, it’s possible for the teeth to seem fine, but the bite to be problematic.

How do I know if my child’s bite is a problem?

Does your child suck his thumb? Have difficulty chewing or biting? Does she breath through her mouth? Other signs that the bite is off include the early or late loss of baby teeth, crowded or misplaced teeth, protruding teeth and grinding or clenching. If the upper and lower teeth don’t meet correctly it can cause problems down the road. King Orthodontics is here to help.

Is it just cosmetic?

Straight teeth that are well-aligned do look fantastic. A beautiful smile will boost your child’s confidence, encouraging them to smile and feel good doing it. In addition to that, straight teeth and a proper bite becomes a function of good dental health.

Treat your child to the Smile they will Thank you for later

Whether or not your child would benefit from treatment, it’s best to schedule that initial exam by seven years of age and take it from there. If your child does need help, you’ll be wise to begin the process early. Not only will we address how to remedy problem areas, we’ll put a plan in place to get your child where you want to be. Also, when you start early, you have the added bonus of younger children not feeling self-conscious—in fact, our young patients at King Orthodontics are eager to get their braces on just like their peers at school.

Generally, the sooner you are able to correct a cosmetic or functional concern, the better. Give your child something to smile about today and for the rest of his or her life—the gift of a beautiful smile.