Parents often call to ask Dr. Foote: “at what age should I bring my child to the orthodontist?”. As parents, often you hear your friends chatting about their child starting at a certain age, and it can be confusing! The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends a child first be seen by an orthodontist as early as age 7. If a family dentist recommends that your child be seen earlier, by all means, give us a call! Many orthodontic problems are easier to correct if treated prior to the completion of growth. The average age for growth completion in a female is ages 14-16 and for a male, 18-20 years of age.
Early Interceptive Treatment (also known as Phase I), if necessary, is usually initiated on children between the ages of 7 and 10. Phase I treatment typically lasts about 12 months, and usually involves a Rapid Palatal Expander (RPE), an appliance to create space.
Early treatment may prevent the need for extraction of permanent teeth, surgery and other serious corrections later in life. However, owing to the complex nature of orthodontics, early treatment may not be right for every child. Only after a clinical examination of your child can the proper treatment plan be determined. There is no absolute right age, because just as treatment plans are individual, the correct age to start your child’s treatment is very individualized.
Our consultations with you and your child are complimentary, as are the xrays and photos we take during them. Please call to schedule a consultation if you have any concerns that your child may need early treatment. If your son/daughter is not ready at that point to have braces, but may require them in the future, at least you will have a sense of your plan of action to give them a healthy, beautiful, and affordable SMILE!