What the best age for an orthodontic assessment? Well, the rule of thumb is, it’s better to be early when taking your kids to see an orthodontist. Many children will benefit from early preventative orthodontic treatment to reduce the complexity and duration of treatment later on. This article will discuss the approximate age at which kids should see an orthodontist and why.
Fortunately, many orthodontists offer complimentary consultations to help parents plan out their child’s orthodontic journey. Orthodontists will often provide a detailed report after consultations, which will highlight the current diagnosis and treatment plan options. During the consultation, if the orthodontist thinks that your child is too young for treatment, then they will give you a time-frame in which your child should return for starting treatment.
At What Age Should My Kid See an Orthodontist?
Most orthodontists are happy to see kids as soon as they get their first adult teeth. Generally, the first adult teeth to come through are the first molars and incisors at the age of 6 – 7. Sometimes, adult teeth get stuck under the baby teeth and need a little help coming through. If that is the case, it’s best to see a dentist or orthodontist. Moreover, if your child is thumb-sucking after the age of 5, then please see an orthodontist immediately. It’s important to note that taking your kids to an orthodontist at a young age can help future planning.
For children with large overbites, crossbites, or underbites, earlier orthodontic treatment can be beneficial to help improve the underlying jaw size problems. Around the age of 7 or 8, this type of early intervention treatment can be started. It may involve a fixed or removable appliance (aka plate) or partial braces.
Around the age of 9 – 11 is when the adult canine teeth start to emerge into the mouth. Canines frequently travel off course and end up getting stuck in the roof of the mouth. Early detection of this problem will help your dentist or orthodontist take a conservative approach to encourage the canine to get back on track. This conservative approach may involve selectively removing a few baby teeth in the dental chair, which may improve the chances of the adult canines erupting successfully. This can prevent long, costly, and complex orthodontic treatment for your child in the future.
Most routine orthodontic treatment for children will start around the age of 11 – 14 years old. By then, most of the adult teeth are present in the mouth, and children are often in their most motivated and cooperative phase! Treatment often coincides with puberty, which usually occurs in this age range. This allows the orthodontist to maximize any growth potential of the jaws, and ensure the end results are stable. However, it’s important to remember that each child has a unique growth pattern and maturity rate. Thus, your child’s treatment start date may fall outside of the 11 – 14 year age range, and that is perfectly normal.
- The best age to take your children for an orthodontic assessment is when they start to get their first adult teeth (approximately at the age of 6 – 7 years old)
- Thumb-sucking habits past the age of 5 can cause dental complications. Thus, it’s best to see a dentist or orthodontist as soon as possible to avoid complications in the future.
- If you notice your child’s adult canine teeth have not erupted into the mouth by the age of 9-10 years old, then please see a dentist or orthodontist as soon as possible.
- If you’re ever in doubt or curious to know if your child needs braces, then please see a dentist or orthodontist ASAP, because it’s better to be early, than late.
Having a hard time breaking your child’s thumb-sucking habit? If so, click here and read useful tips on how you can break this bad habit.
Are you a parent & interested in orthodontic treatment for yourself? If so, click here to learn the age when it’s too late to get braces.
Written by: Dr. Katie Xu BDSc (Hons)(Melb), DCD (Ortho)(Melb)