When Should Your Child See an Orthodontist?

Your child’s health is your number one priority, and their teeth play a major role in their physical well-being. Unfortunately, many parents don’t know when their child should see an orthodontist – but never fear, that’s why the WOW! Smiles™ team is here! 

The American Association of Orthodontists sets the standard for orthodontic care, and they recommend that you should bring your child in to visit a WOW! Smiles™ orthodontist by the time they turn seven. If you’re wondering why your second grader needs to get their first orthodontic check-up, keep reading to learn the many benefits of early treatment. 

7 is the Magic Number!

An early first orthodontist appointment comes with many benefits. From reducing orthodontic anxiety to preventing the need for additional care in the future, that first visit carries a lot of weight for your seven-year-old’s smile! 

Overall, meeting at age seven allows your child’s WOW! Smiles™ orthodontist to keep tabs on their jaw growth and development. Not every child needs to start treatment at this age, but visiting our office as soon as possible is important for many reasons. Here’s why: 

Early Exposure

Sometimes the longer you wait to do something, the scarier it can feel. The same is true for orthodontic treatment! Many patients who have never visited an orthodontist before their teen years feel anxious about their appointments, which is another reason early treatment is so important. 

Our WOW! Smiles™ doctors often discover that despite the insecurity that many first-time, teenage visitors feel about their smile, they feel more anxious about the orthodontic process because they’ve never experienced it before. This fear of the unknown can be an obstacle to your teen’s smile goals.

Early exposure helps seven-year-olds realize that visiting the orthodontist isn’t scary at all and can actually be fun! Patients who are used to the idea of orthodontics are often more comfortable in the office and even get excited about the idea of getting braces.

Here’s what to expect at your child’s first appointment: 

  • They’ll meet the team of WOW! Smiles™ professionals ready to make them smile.
  • We’ll take X-rays and images of their mouth 
  • We’ll all have fun looking at pictures of their teeth, and then recommend the BEST treatment plan for them!

Remember: this first appointment isn’t about starting treatment, so remind your child that they’re just visiting for a check-up. This won’t be like a dental appointment, and they won’t have to worry about shots or fillings. We’re just here to meet them and start the relationship going!

When Should Your Child See an Orthodontist?Tracking & Preventing

The name of the early intervention game is initiative! Being proactive about your child’s oral health gives them the headstart they need to get the straight smile they deserve. When you bring your child in for their first check-up at age seven, our team can begin tracking their progress to nip negative growth patterns in the bud before they become worse problems later. 

Many parents bring their children in for their first visit when they’re in their teens, but this limits the treatment options. As Teens’  develop their teeth tend to be more permanent in placement VS when your child is younger, so for some patients who have more complex issues, treatment can take longer than usual and require additional appliances etc for optimal results. For some patients, later treatments may require tooth extractions or additional surgeries that may not have been necessary had we started at an earlier age. Because your child’s bones are still growing at age seven, however, this is the perfect time to take advantage of the movement and guide their growth before the concrete cools, so to speak. Just remember: most children don’t need early intervention, but every child benefits from early monitoring! 

Better Treatment Experience Overall 

When you subtract the obstacles of anxiety or missed early treatment opportunities, it is no wonder that patients who visit the orthodontist at age seven have a better experience than those who don’t. That’s because we’ll be able to tell you exactly when the best time to start braces is, and we’ll already be familiar with their unique needs when we start treatment. The thorough nature of early, long-term observations means that your child’s smile will be more reliably straight and stay straight longer than patients who started treatment in their teenage years. In other words, starting off on the right foot with early orthodontics or observation keeps the ball rolling for orthodontic success in the future!

What About Dental Visits?

At this point, you may be wondering if your child’s pediatric dentist can monitor their development in the same way as an orthodontist. After all, by the age of seven, most children are already visiting their dentist regularly, and many parents feel that because of their age, dental visits are enough to ensure that the development of their child’s teeth is being effectively overseen. So why see an orthodontist? 

Orthodontists are specifically trained for an additional 2-3 years to learn facial bone structure and development. This specialization makes orthodontists the better choice for guiding your child’s jaw growth and dentists the better choice for helping them learn healthy oral habits. In addition, pediatric dentists focus on each of your child’s teeth individually to check for cavities. Orthodontists, on the other hand, take a more holistic approach to your child’s oral development. They take every tooth into account to make sure their whole smile is straight and healthy. If you want their smile to really WOW! their peers, you need to bring them to WOW! Smiles™ for the best quality care. 

Consult an Orthodontist at Any Age

Although the benchmark for a first visit is seven years old, it is important to keep in mind that you should make an appointment for your child any time you notice something out of the ordinary. If your child’s teeth appear to be excessively crowded, may be getting bullied because of their smule, having difficulty or experiencing pain with chewing, or if they are breathing through their mouth more often than not, it is a good idea to bring them in for a visit with one of our orthodontists for a FREE easy and informative consultation. 

When Should Your Child See an Orthodontist?

Your Child Deserves the Best…

So set them up for success at WOW! Smiles™! With a confident smile, there’s no telling how far your seven-year-old will go, so don’t wait! Schedule your free consultation with one of our doctors today.