When should my child see an orthodontist?

True or False?

“Just wait until all the baby teeth fall out before going to see the orthodontist.”

FALSE! Every child should have an orthodontic exam by age 7 because there are DOZENS of problems that can occur while the bite is developing from age 7 (first adult teeth come in) to age 12-13 (when the last ones erupt) And it’s Dr. Tom’s job to forecast and prevent these problems. Just take a look at this example …

Olivia’s parents thought they were doing the right thing by waiting until she was 12 years old before bringing her to Dr. Tom for her first orthodontic exam. He immediately discovered something very wrong with Olivia’s bite (not the space between her front teeth).

  • One tooth is missing on each side (the one’s which should be labeled “5” where the yellow arrows are drawn), and there is no space for them now.
  • The upper molars (labeled “6”) have erupted in the wrong position, much too far forward of where they normally should be (the 2 vertical lines should meet to form one line).
  • This is the type of problem Dr. Tom notices instantly once he performs an exam. An x-ray confirmed his suspicion that the missing “5’s” are actually impacted in the bone on the roof of the mouth between the teeth labelled “4” and “6.”

If Olivia’s parents had brought her to see Dr. Tom years earlier, he would have seen this problem developing and been able to prevent her from needing to now have painful surgery on the roof of her mouth to remove two impacted teeth. But her parents mistakenly thought they should wait until most of her baby teeth had fallen out before getting an orthodontic exam.

Remember— an orthodontic exam at age 7 or 8 does not automatically mean braces at age 7. With Dr. Tom as your orthodontist, he will only advise treatment at an early age if it is necessary to prevent other problems from developing. So, if nothing else, you’ll have the peace of mind in knowing what treatment may or may not be needed for the future.

Our goal is getting you a great smile and a healthy bite. Dr. Tom is trained to forecast how your child’s bite is developing, so he places a special emphasis on preventing bite problems when possible, and on intercepting current problems to prevent them from becoming worse. Performing orthodontic treatment at the ideal time will save you time and money and help prevent tooth or jaw problems before they become more difficult and more expensive to fix.

If Dr. Tom believes it would be best to delay your child’s orthodontic treatment, they will be placed into our Pre-Orthodontic Guidance Program.