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At What Age Should I Have My Child Evaluated for Braces?

Most people think of teenagers when it comes to braces, but there are many reasons you should schedule your child’s orthodontic evaluation much sooner. Early intervention, also known as phase one orthodontics, can be performed while some of the baby teeth remain. We, at Smile Explorers Pediatric Dentistry, will assess your child and determine whether early treatment is needed to prevent the need for extensive procedures down the road. We are all about long-term healthy smiles.

When Should You Schedule Your Child’s Initial Orthodontic Evaluation?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children have their first orthodontic evaluation no later than age seven. By then, your child will have a mix of baby and permanent teeth, and an orthodontist will identify orthodontic problems in their earliest stages. If you notice anything of concern before your child turns seven, it’s a good idea to talk to your trusted team at Smile Explorers Pediatric Dentistry about having your child evaluated. That is not so we can place braces on your child earlier. In fact, only a fraction of the kids we see will require some form of orthodontic treatment.

Why Start So Young?

Around age six or seven, your child will have some of the permanent front teeth and the first set of molars, also known as the six-year-molars. When these teeth are in, our orthodontist can identify how your child’s bite is likely to develop. If we identify any potential problem, we may recommend phase one orthodontic treatments, also known as interceptive orthodontics.

The goal of early orthodontic evaluation is to intercept problems with the growth, development, or eruption of teeth, while your child’s teeth and jawbones are still pliable and responsive to treatment, which ensures quick results. Children who undergo phase one orthodontic procedures may need braces or other orthodontic appliances when they get older, but future treatments are usually shorter, less complicated, and less costly.

Will Your Child Require Early Intervention?

Early intervention may be recommended to correct a crowded mouth, crooked, gapped, or protruding teeth, or overbites, underbites, and crossbites. Conditions requiring phase one treatments also include difficulty biting or chewing, or teeth and jaws that are not proportional to the rest of the face.

Examples of interceptive treatments include palatal expanders, which are more successful at expanding a child’s upper arch when used at a young age while the bones are still very malleable. That will help make room for the permanent teeth when they are ready to come in. We may also recommend the correction of protruding front teeth, space maintainers to maintain the space left by prematurely lost teeth, braces on the front teeth, or the targeted removal of primary teeth that interfere with permanent teeth coming in correctly.

Phase One Orthodontics in Glendale, AZ

Visit Smile Explorers Pediatric Dentistry to schedule your child’s orthodontic evaluation. We will assess the growth and development of your child’s mouth and will recommend early intervention, if necessary, to set the stage for a lifetime of beautiful, healthy smiles. Call us today!