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At what Age Should I Start Bringing My Child to the Orthodontist?

Child with BracesThe American Association of Orthodontists and Dr. Seim recommend children be seen by age 7. Often, treatment is not yet indicated at this age, but it is a critical time in dental development. Seeing children at age 7 allows us to identify dental issues early, and allows you to establish an observation schedule so that we can start treatment at the ideal time. Typically, we see patients every 6-9 months to monitor dental eruption, bite, etc. Consultations and observation exams are always free.

Certain dental problems are easier to treat when patients are young, as opposed to waiting to treat until all of the permanent teeth have erupted. When this is the case, we will do an early round of orthodontic treatment called “Phase One.” Often, children will still need a second round of braces (“Phase Two”) when all of the permanent teeth erupt, but it will be much easier and less complicated since the larger issues have already been addressed.

Two of the most important issues we treat early are cross-bite and tongue/thumb habits. A cross-bite that is left untreated can lead to asymmetries in the dental arch and developing jaw, and can cause a traumatic bite. Thumb and tongue habits can cause an open bite, meaning the top and bottom teeth don’t touch in the front. Both of these conditions along with some other conditions, usually warrant Phase One treatment. If you are concerned about your child’s bite or would like to get him/her on an observation schedule, please give us a call!

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