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When Should My Child See An Orthodontist?

Young Child Showing Off Orthodontic Care

When the topic of orthodontic care comes up, parents are often surprised to learn that their child is late for their first visit. In the minds of many, orthodontic care doesn’t become necessary until your child is well into their teenage years. However, the first orthodontic visit should happen far earlier than that. Specifically, your child should see their orthodontist for the first time by age 7. Don’t worry; a visit at this time doesn’t mean your child is necessarily going to get braces right away! Massih Orthodontics takes this opportunity to examine the developing oral health of your child to spot any potential future concerns.

Why You Take Your Child To See An Orthodontist At Age Seven

Seven years of age was set by the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) and the American Dental Association (ADA). Study and expertise determined that this was the stage of your child’s life when it was possible to spot developing concerns. Further, it was the earliest point at which effective action could be taken to correct them before the identified concerns became serious.

It was also when children began to lose their primary, or baby, teeth, and the first adult molars began to arrive. These two factors come together to make it easier to determine the road ahead for the development of adult teeth. 

It became possible to determine the following:

  • If the bite was going to line up properly. 
  • If there was sufficient room for all the adult teeth.
  • If these teeth were going to grow in properly aligned.

The relieving news is the vast majority of children will not require orthodontic treatment. However, when there are clear signs of trouble ahead, it’s the perfect time to head them off. Sometimes it will be necessary to let the adult bite develop further to begin care. In other instances, it will be necessary to begin early treatment to ensure that the problem is resolved or made easier to treat at a later date.

Orthodontic care comes in two stages:

  • Phase 1 – Also known as ‘early stage orthodontic treatment,’ this stage happens when patients are between ages seven and ten. The treatments done at this time are typically quite mild, including front braces, palatal expanders or spacers, retainers, or some combination of the above. The goal is to resolve problems before they occur or limit problems during future treatments.
  • Phase 2 – This stage of treatment includes procedures and forms of care that occur after all the adult teeth have arrived. Ask Dr. Massih about phase 2 treatments to learn more.

Contact Massih Orthodontics For Early Orthodontic Care

If you have a child who’s between the ages of seven and ten and have yet to have their first orthodontic visit, call (818) 507-1515 today! We’ll arrange for you to come into our office for an initial orthodontic visit for your child. During this visit, we’ll perform a complete exam, including 3-D dental imaging, to identify any problems and determine if it’s time to start phase 1 orthodontic care to prevent them.

Dr. Karmen Massih Inspired by orthodontics at the age of 10, Dr. Karmen Massih earned her Doctor of Dental Medicine at UCLA's School of Dentistry. After earning her certificates in orthodontics at the University of Pittsburgh, she returned to her hometown of Glendale, CA, to begin Massih Orthodontics, a practice dedicated to transforming smiles for people of all ages.