When Should I Take my Child to the Orthodontist?

Childrens Orthodontist Grand Rapids MI

How soon is too soon for children to go to the orthodontist? This is a question our Grand Rapids orthodontists get asked all the time, and the answer depends on the child.

There is a window of opportunity while the child’s jaws are still growing when we can help correct crowding teethand other dental issues. However, some issues can also be corrected in a few years once the child is older.

Keep reading to learn more information about pediatric orthodontic treatment.

Should My Child Be a Certain Age?

The American Association of Orthodontics recommends children receive an orthodontic screening by age 7. During the consultation, one of our orthodontists will evaluate your child’s teeth and jaws to see if early orthodontic intervention is necessary.

Ideally, your child’s teeth would be corrected through phase 1 orthodontic treatment. However, if your child needs further treatment at a later date, future treatment would be less invasive than if your child had never received orthodontic intervention.

Our reputable orthodontists will also be able to advise you on whether or not immediate treatment is necessary or if it should be held off for now. For example, dental x-rays can let an orthodontist know if adult teeth will come in crooked or cause crowding.

In general, orthodontic screenings are recommended at such an early age so that the best course of treatment can be planned for the child. Remember that it is merely a recommendation that your child pay a visit to our Grand Rapids or Grandville office once they are 7 years old. If your child happens to be 8 or older, it is not too late for them to go in for a check-up.

What Will Happen at My Child’s First Orthodontic Visit?

The first orthodontic appointment for your child will be all about examining the teeth, mouth, and jaw. It’s also common at this time for your child’s facial pattern to be evaluated for proper balance, symmetry, and growth.

Other information that will likely be collected to determine if treatment is needed right away or in the future include:

  • X-rays to evaluate developing teeth
  • Measurements of dental arches to confirm space available for future teeth
  • Molds or impressions of the teeth
  • Pictures of the entire mouth to document any areas of concern

This appointment will be completely painless and should be relatively quick. Following any observation, we can sit down with you to discuss if your child’s teeth and jaws are developing normally for a healthy mouth.

What if My Child Still Has Baby Teeth?

It is a common misconception that children are not able to receive orthodontic treatment if they still have baby teeth. However, significant work can be accomplished while the baby teeth are still present! This often will be a time where we focus on growth guidance - ensuring that your child's mouth is ready to accommodate all of their incoming adult teeth.

If there are baby teeth still in your child’s mouth, our orthodontists may recommend partial braces. Partial braces are placed on the upper or lower teeth to prevent crowding or other dental issues in a specific area. Each child is different, which is why it’s important we conduct a proper orthodontic examination first.

Are There Signs I Should Bring My Child In for an Evaluation?

If your child complains of dental discomfort while chewing, this is an indication that the teeth are not aligned properly. Other signs to have checked out may include overlapping, crooked, or overcrowded teeth, overbites, underbites, and more.

To prevent the teeth from wearing improperly and causing further pain, we recommend you take your child to see our orthodontists as soon as possible. We can recommend and carry out treatment so that the teeth are moved into a more optimal bite pattern.

Let’s Get Started On Your Child’s Smile Journey

Our orthodontists in Grand Rapids and Grandville, MI, can help straighten and transform your child’s teeth so they can have a beautiful smile for life. Call Armbrecht & Wierenga Orthodontics at (616) 455-4800 today to receive a free consultation.

This blog post has been updated.