ASK DR. K: When Should My Child First Visit the Orthodontist?

When should kids first visit an orthodontist?  While braces are a familiar sight on middle schoolers, it Is important to meet with an orthodontist well before then.  In this video, Dr. Kraus answers questions about why an early consultation is important and what situations benefit from early correction.

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child should have a consultation with an orthodontist by age 7 to 8 years old.  Children benefit from an early consult so that Dr. Kraus can identify any problems and work to correct them while the child is still growing.   

A crossbite is a situation that is best fixed in younger kids. If permanent molars in the way back come in and fit in the opposite orientation, that needs to be fixed.  A crossbite can limit the normal growth of the jaw.

Thumb sucking is also an issue commonly addressed in younger patients. Thumb sucking can cause the incisors, the front teeth, to stick out too far. This impacts the ability to chew and bite into food properly.

An early orthodontic consultation can also detect if teeth are growing in the wrong direction.  Permanent teeth growing underneath the baby teeth sometimes cross over the teeth next to them. There are steps that can be taken at a young age that will correct the problem before it worsens.

All kids do not need orthodontic treatment at a young age.  At Kraus Orthodontics, we love to be as conservative as possible in our treatment plans.  Many patients do not begin treatment until all of their permanent teeth come in.  After patients come in for their initial treatment at age 7, they follow up once or twice a year until all of their permanent molars and incisors erupt into their mouths and then we can efficiently begin treatment.

The average age for braces for girls is 11 to 12 years old.  The average age for boys to begin wearing braces is age 13 to 14. Boys maturation is a little delayed when compared with girls. After our initial consult, we guide patients and determine when to begin treatment, based on their personal development and growth.  We strive to keep our patients in braces for  as short a time as possible.  An early consultation will assure that orthodontic treatment is tailored to each patient’s growth and individual needs.