Orthodontics for Children
While there is no exact age for children to begin orthodontic treatment, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends visiting the orthodontist around age seven.
By this age, most children have a mix of baby teeth and adult teeth, making it easier for the orthodontist to diagnose and treat any tooth misalignment that can affect their permanent teeth.
In addition, any jaw problems can be redirected in children due to their potential facial growth, making surgery unlikely as an adult.
Even though, not every child will require "early" treatment, if you have a consultation with Dr. Van Westen, she will be able to direct your family to the correct timing for orthodontic treatment depending on your child's individual needs.
Early treatment allows Dr. Van Westen to:
- Help the permanent teeth come in straight
- Guide the growth of your child's jaw
- Regulate the width of the upper and lower arches
- Create more space for crowded teeth
- Avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions later in life
- Correct thumb sucking and help improve minor speech problems
For parents, it's not always easy to know if your child needs "early" orthodontic treatment.
Here are a few things to look for in young children:
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- A hard time chewing or biting food
- Mouth breathing
- Finger or thumb sucking
- Crowded, misplaced, or blocked teeth
- Jaws and teeth that are not proportionate to the rest of the face
- Crowded front teeth around age seven or eight
Please contact our practice to schedule an appointment for an orthodontic evaluation. Early treatment now will give your child a healthy, beautiful smile for the future.