Seventh Birthday Approaching? Time For A Visit To The Orthodontist!
Staff | May 2022
Many parents associate braces and orthodontics with their teen years but you may be surprised to learn that the best time for your little one to have their first orthodontic visit is around their 7th birthday. We know, we know - they’re still running around the jungle gym and definitely not exhibiting any tween behavior (at least we hope not for your sake!). That said, the American Association of Orthodontics recommends children be seen by an orthodontist at age seven and here at EJL we absolutely agree. Most kiddos do not need Phase 1 or early treatment, however just in case mother nature throws us a curveball we want to be there to catch it as early as possible.
Why by age seven?
By age 7, your child’s mouth has matured enough for a trained orthodontic eye to spot current and future issues. We can then make corrections that will help guide their jaw and teeth into a healthier place for an easier straight smile later on.
There are many benefits to starting orthodontic treatment as a child; these include shorter treatment time, fewer impacted permanent teeth and reduced chance of needing to remove teeth. That’s because with early orthodontics we can:
- Guide teeth into desired positions early
- Guide jaw growth
- Minimize crowding/creating room for erupting teeth
- Correct the results of oral habits like thumb and finger sucking
At EJL Dental, we think of early orthodontics as a two phase solution.
- Phase 1 works with your young child to make space for his or her permanent teeth.
- Phase 2 begins once those teeth have arrived.
If you recommend early orthodontics for my child, does that mean they won’t need braces as a teen?
Early treatment (phase 1) can begin the correction of significant problems, prevent additional problems from developing, and simplify future treatment, but oftentimes, additional treatment is still necessary. That said, children who have undergone early orthodontic treatment typically wear braces or Invisalign for a shorter period of time in the teen years than those who have not undergone early intervention. This makes life easier for both them, and you, as both of your schedules get busier and busier.
If I bring my child to you at age 7 are you definitely going to recommend early orthodontics?
Nope! Every child is different and we customize every treatment plan to the individual. Early treatment does not necessarily benefit all children. Certain types of orthodontic problems can be more easily and efficiently corrected in the teen years when all permanent teeth have come in; some skeletal orthodontic problems should not be addressed until growth is more advanced or complete. Dr. Timothy Johnson will develop a customized treatment plan based on each individual child’s needs.
Come by and meet me, Dr.Timothy Johnson, and the entire staff to see what we mean. Click below or call us at (301) 881-6170 to schedule a complimentary consultation. We can’t wait to meet you and your seven year old!