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At What Age Should Children See an Orthodontist?

It may be time to bring your child to see an orthodontist if you notice the following:

  • Your child's baby teeth fall out early (before age 3) or late (after year 8).

  • Chewing or biting food is difficult for your child.

  • Teeth overlap or crowd other teeth.

  • Upper and lower teeth don’t fit together.

  • Your little one’s jaw seems to shift or make sounds while eating.

  • The jaw seems to protrude or recess unusually.

  • The jaws and teeth are not in proportion to the size of your child’s face.

  • You see that your child inadvertently bites the cheek or roof of his or her mouth.

  • Your child engages in thumb or finger sucking.

If you don’t notice these signs, a consultation with an orthodontist is still valuable. We agree with the American Association of Orthodontist recommendation to schedule a check-up for your child on or near their 7th birthday. Most children have a least a few permanent teeth emerging by age 7.

Your child may not need braces. Being proactive with his or her care, however, helps you and your orthodontist assess any potential problems and discuss a treatment plan.

Your Child’s First Visit to a Roanoke, VA Orthodontist

During a first visit, your orthodontist will examine your child’s mouth, jaw, and teeth and often ask your child to bite teeth together. You’ll likely answer questions about whether your child struggles with chewing or swallowing and if you notice any jaw sounds (popping or clicking).

X-rays are usually part of the first examination. Your orthodontist will review the current position of your child's teeth and determine whether emerging permanent teeth have problems. Depending on the results of the initial exam, your orthodontist may create an impression of your child’s mouth. He or she will gently press trays filled with a thick liquid material onto the top and bottom teeth. The material hardens into a replica of your child’s teeth, and the orthodontist uses this mold when recommending treatment.

How Your Orthodontist Uses Information from Your Child’s First Exam

Much of the information gathered during your child’s first visit helps your orthodontist identify current or probable problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth.

  • Baby teeth may be straight, but x-rays can show that permanent teeth hidden below the gum line may emerge out of alignment.

  • Jaw shape and bite may lead to your orthodontist to recommend monitoring your child’s growth over time.

  • For some patients, early identification of trouble spots can help the orthodontist help your child before his or her jaw and face finishes growing. Initial treatment can prevent serious issues and may shorten any treatment needed when your child is older. Your orthodontist may be able to:

    • guide the growth of your child’s jaw

    • avoid the discomfort of teeth that overlap or stick out

    • direct permanent teeth into correct positions

    • improve your child’s ability to have a secure, stable bite

Schedule Your Child’s First Check-Up with Mountain View Orthodontics

Bringing your child in for an evaluation by the Mountain View Orthodontics team is a first step toward ensuring he or she has a beautiful, healthy smile. Our goal is to provide the right treatment at the right time for great results for your child and you. Contact us online or by calling (540) 342-9876.


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