Once your child starts losing those baby teeth and getting their permanent ones, you may begin to notice some dental issues — gaps, twisted teeth, or teeth coming in above or below the gum line. Those are all signs to see an orthodontist. But at what age should you take a child in to see an orthodontist? As a teenager? Ten years old? Younger? Older? You might be surprised at the proper age when your child should first see an orthodontist. 

At Larson Orthodontics, we know that the sooner you can address orthodontic issues, the better for your child because it will mean fewer complicated issues later on. Here are some facts you should know before taking your child to the orthodontist for the first time.

How Old Should My Child Be on the First Visit?

Most people think of teenagers visiting the orthodontist for the first time, but your child needs to see an orthodontist much sooner than most people think. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that you bring your child to the orthodontist starting at age 7. That may seem very early, but it’s actually the perfect time! 

Why bring your child to the orthodontist at age 7? By that age, your child’s permanent teeth are coming in while others are waiting to burst through. The placement of the permanent teeth, both erupted and still in the jaw, will give us an idea of whether your child will have any orthodontic issues. It’s the right time to start planning your child’s treatment. 

Earlier Screenings Are OK!

While age 7 is recommended for a first orthodontist visit, that age isn’t set in stone. What if your child has problems from a much younger age, such as teeth erupting too high or too low or pain in your child’s jaw? You certainly don’t want to hold off getting treatment! By all means, bring your child in if you suspect orthodontic issues, especially if they are causing your child pain, discomfort, or problems eating. You do not need a referral to come see us!

There are other reasons to consider bringing your child to the orthodontist early. Thumb sucking is a common reason. This habit can do some serious damage to your child’s mouth over time, creating overbites, deep bites, and even crossbites. The worse it is, the more treatment your child will need later. That’s why you want to address such issues as early as possible. We have special appliances and techniques that can break your child’s habit. 

The sooner your child sees an orthodontist for their issues, the better for your child.

What Will Happen During the First Visit?

If this is a first visit to an orthodontist for you and your child, you may not have any idea what to expect. It can be intimidating for both of you. Don’t worry! Our goal is not only to make you feel comfortable but for you to enjoy your time with us! 

As soon as you walk in, you’ll be greeted by the friendly, energetic Larson Orthodontics team. You’ll find a team that works hard to make you feel right at home. We’ll welcome you in with a tour of the office before we sit with you and find out the concerns you have for your child’s oral health. 

Our on-office consultation will include x-rays, digital impressions of your child’s teeth and jaws, and a full dental examination. Once all that is complete, we will share the results with you and let you know if orthodontic treatment is necessary now or may be needed in the future. We may recommend a two-phase process that includes treatment now and another bit of treatment later once the other permanent teeth are in place.

Will My Child Need to Get Braces?

Does a full examination mean your child will need braces right away? Not necessarily. They may need orthodontic treatment later, but they may not need treatment right away. You can rest assured that we will never recommend treatment your child doesn’t need. 

If your child does need treatment, we will lay out a plan of treatment to keep your child from suffering major dental issues later. Often, that involves a two-phase treatment. 

The first phase of your child’s treatment with braces will address issues your child has now. We may install an appliance to break your child’s thumb-sucking habit. Your child may be having trouble biting or chewing correctly. It may be that their permanent teeth have come in crowded together or spaced too far apart. Phase I will address these issues. 

We’ll also outline a plan for when your child is older, and most of the permanent teeth are in place. We’ll have a better idea of any other dental issues, and we can adjust the plan before Phase II treatment begins. Because we addressed major issues early, Phase II treatment is often shorter and less expensive. In the end, your child will be left with a perfect smile that can last a lifetime!

Getting Started With Braces for Your Child

The earlier you can get started, the better off your child will be when it comes to orthodontic treatment. Early treatment can avoid bigger problems later, such as jaw pain, headaches, sleep disorders, or other issues. Where do you begin? 

At Larson Orthodontics, you can start with a virtual consultation from anywhere using a desktop or mobile system. You are under no obligation to accept treatment from us, but we certainly hope you will want to do so after you meet our team!

If you’re in the Alexandria, VA, area, you can also give us a call to schedule an appointment or simply ask us a few questions. We know your child’s oral health is important to you. That’s why we work so hard to make you feel like you are Priority One for us every step of the way. 

Never Just A Smile

Learn why we never say “just” at Larson Orthodontics

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