This is a very common question I get from parents. Most parents follow the recommendation of other parents when it comes to answering this question. For example, if a parent does not know if their child is too young for orthodontic treatment they will ask another parent who currently has a child receiving orthodontic care. These conversations usually occur at soccer, dance, baseball, football, basketball, lacrosse, swimming or some other activity their child participates in. While other parents sometimes can point the inquiring parent in the right direction, the answer to the question of too young or not for braces should really come from an orthodontist.
From an orthodontic perspective, the answer to the question of too young for braces depends on the malocclusion (the problem with the bite or smile) and whether the growing permanent/adult teeth are being negatively affected by the malocclusion. The best way to assess any malocclusion is to have your child evaluated by an orthodontist. This is usually a complimentary examination where the orthodontist will examine your child to determine if treatment is necessary. The appointment may include photographs of your child’s face and teeth as well as a radiographic analysis to provide the orthodontist more information.
The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends the best age for an orthodontic evaluation is by age 7. It is important to think of age 7 as the suggested age for an orthodontic screening. Your child should have an orthodontic screening once they turn 7. A screening at age 7 does not mean that treatment will be recommended. It simply is a way for the parent and patient to get answers about whether a malocclusion exists and if the best course of action is to monitor or address any concerns that may arise from the screening. If the orthodontist recommends monitoring the concerns, then your child may be placed on observation and be followed periodically by the orthodontist. If the orthodontist recommends treatment, then interceptive/Phase 1 orthodontics may be necessary to address specific concerns that were identified during the screening. I encourage you to schedule a screening appointment with an orthodontist to see if your child is too young or can benefit from orthodontic treatment.
It would be my pleasure to meet you and your family to determine if orthodontic treatment is appropriate or necessary. Our practice, dotSmiles, is convenient for residents in Boston, Dorchester, Milton, Quincy, Jamaica Plain and South Boston.
About the Orthodontist
Dr. Joffre received his dental and orthodontic training at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and earned a Masters in Public Health at the Harvard University School of Public Health. He is a board member of the Massachusetts Association of Orthodontics (MAO) and formerly served as a board member of the Northeastern Society of Orthodontics (NESO) and delegate to the American Association of Orthodontics (AA0). Dr. Joffre practices at dotSmiles, conveniently located near Exit 11 or Exit 11B off I-93. The team at dotSmiles delivers exceptional care and spectacular smiles.
This blog provides general information and discussion about orthodontics, health and related subjects. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as dental or medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a dental or medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately-licensed dentist, physician or other health care worker.