The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that an orthodontist first evaluate a child as early as age 7 and even earlier if a parent or the family dentist notices a problem. By age 7, enough permanent teeth (first permanent molars and upper/lower incisors) have arrived for an orthodontist to evaluate relationships developing between teeth, jaw and bite. Dr. Tendler can determine what, if anything, needs attention.
The timing of orthodontic treatment is extremely important and greatly affects the treatment result. Since no two patients are alike, there is not a specific age that is best to begin treatment. Our initial examination allows us to evaluate and monitor, and in many cases, avoid potential problems or complications in the future.
Some of the more readily apparent conditions that indicate the need for an examination include:
- early or late loss of baby teeth
- missing or extra permanent teeth
- difficulty in chewing, biting or speech
- mouth breathing
- thumb sucking or other oral habits, including tongue thrusting
- crowding, misplaced or blocked-out teeth
- jaws that shift or make sounds
- teeth that meet abnormally, or don’t meet at all
- facial imbalance or asymmetry
- jaws that are too far forward or back (overbites or underbites)
- grinding or clenching of the teeth