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Is It Time To See The Orthodontist Yet?

I was surprised to learn that according to the California Association of Orthodontists, all children should get a check-up with an orthodontist no later than age 7.

The reason: orthodontists can spot subtle problems with jaw growth or teeth while a child still has baby teeth. It’s important to identify these problems as early as possible so that the appropriate care can be initiated at the appropriate time for each patient.

My kids are 7 and 9. They see their excellent pediatric dentist twice a year. Although he said they’ll both need braces eventually, he thinks it’s too early to send them to an orthodontist.

Of course, one would expect an orthodontists group to push for kids to see an orthodontists as early as possible.

Regardless of the exact age when your child should see an orthodontist for the first time, these are a few signs or habits that may indicate the need for an orthodontic examination:

• Early or late loss of baby teeth
• Difficulty in chewing or biting
• Mouth breathing
• Thumb or finger sucking
• Crowded, misplaced or blocked out teeth
• Jaws that shift or make sounds
• Biting the cheek or roof of the mouth
• Teeth that meet abnormally or not at all
• Jaws and teeth that are out of proportion to the rest of the face

My plan is to keep taking my kids to the pediatric dentist twice a year and follow his advice regarding the best timing of the first orthodontic exam. What’s your plan?

Photo credit: lanuiop

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7 Responses

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  1. Good advice, better being proactive than regret and suffer later.
    We took our both daughters regularly to orthodontist. It pays off - we usually spot the issues early and take care of it.

  2. Vered said

    @ Alik Levin: I didn’t realize you have two daughters too. :)

  3. I have braces. I am always shocked when I am in the waiting room with 7 year olds that have braces. Way to make me feel REALLY old :) This is all great advice. I think my kids will follow me and have to get braces - but hopefully for them the first time will be the last time too.

  4. Vered said

    @ Emily: I hope you’ll get rid of your braces soon! I remember it as torture.

  5. It seems like there is a trend among orthodondist to recommend braces at earlier ages. Ten years ago, most kids will not use braces before 8/9th grade. Now it is very common at 4/5th grades. Starting very early means higher chances to need it again. I’m sure that given the current economy, people will start to wait a little longer and it probably makes sense anyway.

  6. Vered said

    “Starting very early means higher chances to need it again” - this is exactly what I’m worried about.

  7. In terms of dental health for kids, it’s important to have a dentist or orthodontist to check their oral health status. Prevention is better. Though for a seven year old kid, whose going to undergo braces, I don’t think it’s fair enough. At this age, their permanent teeth starts to erupt. It’s a sad thing to hear that there are younger kids with braces. Though there is a saying, “no pain, no gain”, but then again, they are just kids.

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