Yes, Age 7 is the Right Age for a First Ortho Exam

Receiving an orthodontic evaluation at the age of 7 may sound too young to some parents. After all, can a 7 year old get braces? Have all of their permanent teeth even erupted at this age?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children receive their first orthodontic exam by the age of 7, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll start orthodontic treatment at age 7—or at all!

Every child is different, with different needs and a unique smile growth rate! The purpose of an orthodontic evaluation is simply to determine if your child needs orthodontic treatment or would benefit from treatment. 

At GO Orthodontics, we won’t recommend unnecessary treatment. Our orthodontists and team always have your family’s best interest in mind! We’re focused on providing you and your child with solutions that enable you to live your greatest quality of life. 

Can a 7 year old get braces?

Yes, a 7 year old can get braces or another orthodontic treatment. Does that mean that your child will need braces at age 7? Not necessarily!

Every child develops at a different rate. Typically, the front teeth on the top and bottom dental arch are the first to shed. These teeth are called the central incisors. 

Orthodontic treatment is designed to work with a mixed dentition, or a growing mouth of baby teeth and permanent teeth, so braces at age 7 or 8 is possible! 

Why would braces at age 7 or 8 be necessary?

We won’t know if braces are necessary for your child until they receive a braces evaluation (orthodontic exam) from one of our orthodontists, Dr. Gililland, Dr. O’Bannon, Dr. Pongetti or Dr. Gonder.

Orthodontists undergo training to detect problematic orthodontic conditions before they progress, and to intervene before they require a more intensive treatment or a longer treatment process.

Developmental issues and dental misalignments become apparent around age 7, and it’s important that these conditions don’t go untreated. When untreated conditions progress, these can lead to:

  • • Chewing difficulties
  • • Speech impediments
  • • Digestive problems caused by an inability to chew food properly
  • • Jaw pain or tooth pain
  • • Mouth-breathing
  • • Poor self-esteem

As the permanent teeth are growing in around age 7, your child’s orthodontist is able to identify problematic conditions and create a personalized treatment plan to help guide your child’s teeth and jaw bones into a healthy, beautiful alignment.

How Early Orthodontic Treatment Works

Braces for 7 year olds” doesn’t have to mean ‘braces’. Orthodontic appliances are often used in the younger years to create sufficient room in the mouth for all permanent teeth to erupt in alignment.

Palatal expanders are one of the most common orthodontic appliances used for children. These appliances are designed to widen a narrow palate, or upper jaw bone, to prevent teeth from growing crowded or misaligned. A number of orthodontic problems are caused by narrow jaw bones, and when the jaw bones have stabilized in the adult years, widening them or expanding them may require jaw surgery. 

Early orthodontic treatment serves to prevent intensive treatments, like corrective jaw surgery, from becoming necessary, as braces or orthodontic appliances can work alongside the natural development of the jaw bones. The teeth and jaw bones then grow in the desired alignment, instead of treating them after they’ve grown into misalignment.

Schedule Your Child’s First Exam Today!

Scheduling an orthodontic exam for your child around the age of 7 allows us to intercept any problematic conditions, if necessary. Early treatment can save your child from developmental issues and discomfort caused by their condition, and it can save you money in the long run.

Remember, receiving an orthodontic evaluation doesn’t mean that your child will begin treatment! It’s simply a precautionary measure to ensure that there aren’t any problematic conditions secretly lurking and progressing into more complex problems.

If you’re looking for an orthodontist in Oxford, Saltillo, Southaven or Corinth (Mississippi) or Collierville (Tennessee), we’d love to meet you! Our practice has been providing family orthodontic care for our communities since 1976.

Get started by requesting your child’s first complimentary exam today.