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Seven: The Magic Age

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends all children see an orthodontist by the age of seven. If you are like most parents, you see a few of your child’s classmates in braces and wonder why these children are in treatment so young? And you may think, “I didn’t have braces until I was 16.”

Let me take a moment to explain the phenomenon that has been around since ancient Egypt. Yes, believe it or not, archaeologists discovered ancient mummies with metal bands wrapped around their teeth. At age seven, your child most likely would not have all of his/her adult teeth and would not need a full set of braces. But, that is exactly the point! Age seven is the ideal time to aid in the development of the mouth by helping the growth of their jaws in order to accommodate their teeth.

We can also stop harmful habits that can prevent the permanent teeth from coming in. Orthodontists can determine if the child has missing teeth, extra teeth, teeth growing in sideways or if there is disease in the jaws.

Additionally, early treatment can help boost the self-esteem and confidence of your child and potentially prevent the extraction of permanent teeth. Orthodontists can also determine how the jaws are growing — whether the upper jaw is narrow, whether there is a severe overbite or if the child has an underbite. And guess what? We can orthopedically correct the jaws at a young age when the bones are soft and pliable. Once they start to hit puberty it gets a lot harder . That is the reason why you don’t see adult patients wearing headgear. There is no way their jaws will move.

So, a child with an underbite, crossbite, overbite (or whatever you like to call it in your house), has a much better chance to successfully correct it at an early age. Whereas when he/she becomes an adult, sometimes the only way to correct the jaw problem is with surgery . The majority of children seen at age seven do not need orthodontic treatment, but wouldn’t you like that peace of mind to know whether or not a potential problem exists?

Early intervention can make braces a lot easier in the future. Contact an orthodontist today. Your child may not need braces until the adult teeth are in, somewhere around age 12, but if they do need to start at age seven, you will be glad you did.



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